Research Basics: The Research Process

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So what is research anyway? …

So what is research anyway?

It's not a set of steps 1-2-3 that you can check off and be done with. Research is more like a map that has you retrace your steps from time to time. You might need to go backwards-- not because you messed up, but because you learned something new about your topic or discovered a new direction in which to take your research.

Retracing your steps is built into the research process!

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  • Research is a processIt seems to have a starting point and an end point and involve several discrete steps.
  • The process isn’t a step-by-step checklist, but a map that has you retrace your steps from time to timeDevelop a Research Plan: Understand your assignment and think about the steps you need to take to complete itDo Background Research: What are the possibilities for your topic? How can you begin to organize your thoughts? How “big” is your topic?Planning: Set a Search Strategy: Think about where you will look for information, what terms you’ll use, what resources will be most helpful. Save time by planning ahead.Find Sources: Look in the right places for the best possible sources to support your research.Evaluate Sources: Select the most appropriate and best quality sources for your researchPut it Together: Incorporate your research into your own work and avoid plagiarizing by citing your sources.
  • Getting started before you even start doing the research.
  • Read the AssignmentTake time to carefully read the assignment or requirements. Instructors create assignments to receive the kind of research and writing they want to read. The assignment will help you to determine the length, focus, format, and purpose of your research and writing. When is it due? How long is it?How much time should you devote to this assignment? When can you schedule time to do your research?What strengths do you bring? Is there anything you need to learn to successfully complete the assignment?How many sources do you need? Are there specific types sources that need to be included (e.g. peer-reviewed articles, no websites, etc.)?Be sure to contact your instructor early if you have questions.
  • Determine a focused, clear, and manageable topicDevelop a realistic overall plan and timeline to complete the research project.
  • Research Help Books and Online Research Sites: on handout
  • ActivityDiscuss results of student poll. What makes a manageable topic-- Size of subject? Length of end result? Due date? Format of end result? Prior knowledge of the topic?How would changing due dates, formats or subject affect the manageability of each topic?
  • Laying the groundwork for the research that will go into the assignment
  • DiscussAsk the class why background research is necessaryWhat are benefits?What if you’re already familiar with a topic?What happens if you don’t?
  • Scholarly research is about building on the ideas and research of others and integrating these ideas with your own. Research builds upon itself.
  • Explore general information resources to become familiar with the topic.Subject and general encyclopedias, tables of contents of books– look for how larger topics are organized into smaller topics (example: Table of Contents in Wikipedia articles)Identify key concepts and terms that describe the topic.What terms keep coming up? Are there recurring themes? Are there terms you didn’t recognize? Are there subcategories to this topic? Are there aspects of the topic that are more interesting than others?Take notes.Keep track of these ideas! Refer back to general resources for further reading, etc.
  • Reference resources-- Online and in the libraryAsk a Librarian--Librarians can help identify general information resources
  • ActivityStudents should search Wikipedia for the topic of their choice. Ask students to share their topics; display selected topics and discuss results. (Example: Goat)How many content areas are there for the topic? How could these content areas help us define our research topic?
  • Really understanding what you’re looking for before you start looking for it.This step is dependant on the previous stepRepeated from Background ResearchMapping strategies– your topic might change! (Arrow on cycle points back to previous steps)
  • What does a search strategy accomplish?
  • Why can’t this step be skipped?A well designed search strategy: saves you time in the long run allows you to search for information in many different places helps you to find a larger amount of relevant information
  • Different strategies work better for different people.
  • ActivitySteps for identifying key concepts1. Use your research question or thesis statement as a starting point.Does having a diverse workforce affect company profits?2. Identify the important concepts to include in your search:Does having a diverse workforce affect company profits?3. Create a list of synonyms or alternative terms that will help you find more resources.Diverse workforce:Company:Profits:What good search strings can the students come up with? If time, demonstrate in database or Google
  • Another strategy that might be useful
  • Activity: Ask students to contribute Related Terms, Broader Topic and Narrower TopicWrite responses on the boardWhat terms will be most useful when searching for books, articles or websites?
  • ActivityDiscuss results of surveydiscuss where/how to find journals and websites
  • ActivityDiscuss results of surveydiscuss where/how to find books
  • ActivityDiscuss results of surveydiscuss where/how to find encyclopedias
  • Identify key concepts and terms that describe the topic.Narrow or broaden the scope of the topic based on preliminary research.
  • BrainstormingBackground resources– encyclopedias, etc.General websitesWriting CenterAsk a Librarian
  • What do you need? What are the best places to find that information?
  • Review common source requirements for assignments; Reference (encyclopedias, textbooks)Books (primary sources, secondary sources)Articles (from magazines, journals or newspapers)Internet (web sites, online periodicals, government documents)*Discuss restrictions that instructors sometimes impose on source material (what “no internet/web sources” really means)
  • Current events and information Timeline (immediate vs. thorough; depth of information)Broadcast & WWW news– the day of & day after the eventNewspapers- days after eventMagazines- week after eventJournals- month after eventBooks, gov docs, reference works – year after event
  • ActivityDiscuss suitability of different sources for particular types of information
  • Review what each tool is used for.If possible, briefly demonstrate where each can be found.
  • Determine available resources and services at the College of DuPage LibraryUnderstand the characteristics and value of different types of resources (books, periodicals, Web sites) and their different formats (print, electronic).Select information resources (catalog, databases, search engines) appropriate for the research topic.Use various search techniques such as keywords, controlled vocabulary, limiters, Boolean operators, and truncation to find relevant items.
  • Judging sources for appropriateness and quality.
  • Usefulness:How does this article/item contribute to my overall project?What are its flaws, weaknesses, gaps?What are its strengths, values, and contributions to the field?What evidence did the author use?What are the main themes? What are the connections between the themes?How do your sources connect to each other? Where do they overlap or contradict each other?Quality
  • ActivityAssuming the students have the following assignment: “Persuasive Speech (5-7 min) about legalizing marijuana (pro or con)”, which source would they look at first?Discuss: What can you tell about a source from its citation? *books versus articles; *time sensitivity; *relevance to the assignment (factors: the audience of the speech is classmates, the length of the speech– what other potential factors can students think of?)
  • The same criteria are used for evaluating all resources no matter what format they appear in, print, media, web, etc. Web sites may be more difficult to evaluate than print resources.
  • Authority/CredibiltyWho is the author of the source (a person, an organization, or a company)? Is the author an expert on the topic? To what extent does the author's occupation, years of experience, position, or education make him/her an expert? What do you know about the publisher (e.g. company, professional association) of the source? PurposeDoes the source try to sell, inform, or try to persuade you of a certain point of view? Is it a commercial, governmental, or educational institution source? CurrencyIs the source up to date in relation to the topic? AccuracyIs the information based on facts or opinions? Does the author provide any supportive evidence for his/her statements? Are there sources listed for any information presented as fact so that they can be looked for to verify the facts?
  • Activity“Students need 1 credible source to quote in a paper about privacy issues and social networking.”Discuss why students selected their answers.
  • Use the components of a citation to choose those sources most suitable for the research project.Evaluate among various information sources using established evaluation criteria to determine reliability, validity, authority, currency, and accuracy).Evaluate information sources with an understanding of context, intention, and audience (bias, opinion, satire, inflammatory, balanced).
  • What to do with all the sources, facts, data, quotes and research now that you’ve got it.How to incorporate research & avoid plagiarism
  • Paraphrasing: Paraphrasing is translating another person's ideas into your own words in roughly the same length as the original.Summarizing: Summarizing involves briefly describing the main points or distilling the key terms from a source (much shorter than the original work).Quoting: Quotations are copied directly from the original source.
  • Direct quotations require citation
  • Paraphrasing/summarizing requires citation
  • A fact or piece of information that is generally known and accepted does not need to be cited.Facts (no citation needed) versus ideas (citation needed)How to determine “common knowledge”? When in doubt, cite.
  • Brief review of citation styles (use by discipline) and definitions of citation types
  • Extract the details and concepts from the retrieved sources.Organize the gathered information in a logical and useful manner.Understand what constitutes plagiarism and do not represent work attributable to others as your own.Select a documentation style and use it consistently to cite sources
  • Questions?

Transcript

  • 1. Research Basics: Getting Started S.O.S. Workshop
  • 2. So what is research anyway? Develop Research Plan Do Background Research Create Search Strategy Find Sources Evaluate Sources Put it Together Based on Scholarly Research Cycle, Capella University
  • 3. Develop Research Plan Do Background Research Create Search Strategy Find Sources Evaluate Sources Put it Together Based on Scholarly Research Cycle, Capella University
  • 4. Develop Research Plan Do Background Research Create Search Strategy Find Sources Evaluate Sources Put it Together Develop Research Plan
  • 5. Develop Research Plan • Understand your assignment – How long is it? – When is it due? – Does it require specific types of resources? • Know where to go with questions – Instructor office hours – Library hours
  • 6. Develop Research Plan What should you do at this stage?
  • 7. Develop Research Plan Where can you get help at this stage? – Your instructor – Ask a Librarian – Research help books – Online research guides – Assignment Calculator http://ac.codlibrary.org – Writing Center http://www.cod.edu/write
  • 8. Develop Research Plan A. 5-7 page paper on art– due in 2 weeks B. 5-7 minute persuasive speech on red light cameras– due next month C. 10 page paper comparing presidents Bush and Obama– due next month D. 2 minute presentation on diabetes– due in 7 days. Which is the most manageable topic?
  • 9. Develop Research Plan Do Background Research Create Search Strategy Find Sources Evaluate Sources Put it Together Do Background Research
  • 10. Do Background Research Why?
  • 11. Do Background Research Sources for background information – Encyclopedias – Dictionaries – Your textbook and class readings – Your class notes
  • 12. Do Background Research What should you do at this stage?
  • 13. Do Background Research Where can you get help at this stage? – Reference resources – Ask a Librarian
  • 14. Do Background Research What does Wikipedia have to say about your topic?
  • 15. Develop Research Plan Do Background Research Set a Search Strategy Find Sources Evaluate Sources Put it Together Create Search Strategy
  • 16. • Is your topic manageable? – Is it too broad? – Is it too narrow? • Are you asking the right questions? – Is your topic researchable? – Does it meet the requirements of your assignment? Create Search Strategy
  • 17. Create Search Strategy Why? Again…
  • 18. What does a search strategy involve? • finding the focus of your question • understanding what the key concepts are • thinking about your understanding of these concepts • considering alternative terms to describe these concepts • knowing where you should start looking • building on what you've found Create Search Strategy
  • 19. Does having a diverse workforce affect company profits? Create Search Strategy What are the keywords?
  • 20. Create Search Strategy Related Terms •_____ •_____ Broader Topic •_____ •_____ Narrower Topic •_____ •_____ Topic
  • 21. Create Search Strategy Related Terms •_____ •_____ Broader Topic •_____ •_____ Narrower Topic •_____ •_____ Diversity
  • 22. A. Books B. Academic Journals C. Websites D. Encyclopedias Create Search Strategy Where do you look for… current or up to date information?
  • 23. A. Books B. Academic Journals C. Websites D. Encyclopedias Create Search Strategy Where do you look for… comprehensive information?
  • 24. A. Books B. Academic Journals C. Websites D. Encyclopedias Create Search Strategy Where do you look for… background information?
  • 25. What should you do at this stage? Create Search Strategy
  • 26. Where can you get help at this stage? • Brainstorming • Background resources– encyclopedias, etc. • General websites • Writing Center • Ask a Librarian Create Search Strategy
  • 27. Develop Research Plan Do Background Research Create Search Strategy Find Sources Evaluate Sources Put it Together Find Sources
  • 28. Find Sources Before you begin searching, look at your assignment and ask yourself:  How many sources do I need?  What types of sources do I need?  Are there any sources I cannot use?  Does the information need to be current? How current?  Do I need statistics or other data?
  • 29. Find Sources Types of Sources Reference Books Articles Internet
  • 30. Find Sources Are some sources better than others?
  • 31. Find Sources What’s the best source for… information about something that happened yesterday? A B C D
  • 32. Find Sources What’s the best source for… in-depth information on a subject? A B C D
  • 33. Find Sources What’s the best source for… details of a clinical study? A B C D
  • 34. Find Sources What’s the best source for… current statistics on a topic? A B C D
  • 35. Find Sources Resources for finding sources Library Catalog Library Databases Search Engines Bibliographies
  • 36. Find Sources What should you do at this stage?
  • 37. Find Sources Where can you get help at this stage? – Ask a Librarian – Subject Research Guides http://www.cod.edu/library/research/ – Research FAQs http://www.cod.edu/library/research/faq.htm
  • 38. Develop Research Plan Do Background Research Create Search Strategy Find Sources Evaluate Sources Put it Together Evaluate Sources
  • 39. Evaluate Sources What are you looking for? 1. Information that is useful to your research
  • 40. Evaluate Sources A. Drug Legalization : For and Against. 1992. B. “How Pot Became Legal”. Fortune, 9/28/2009 C. “Legalization of Marijuana: Potential Impact on Youth.” Pediatrics, Jun2004. D. Legalizing Marijuana : Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics. 2004 Which source would you look at first?
  • 41. Evaluate Sources What are you looking for? 2. Information that is credible, unbiased, timely and correct
  • 42. Evaluate Sources Authority Purpose Currency Accuracy
  • 43. Evaluate Sources A. Facebook’s FAQ page B. “Facebook’s Privacy Policy” New York Times, June 12, 2008. C. "Criticism of Facebook," Wikipedia D. “Facebook Privacy Policy Explained” Huffington Post, September 1, 2010 What’s the best source?
  • 44. Evaluate Sources What should you do at this stage?
  • 45. Evaluate Sources Where can you get help at this stage? – Your assignment – Your instructor – Ask a librarian
  • 46. Develop Research Plan Do Background Research Create Search Strategy Find Sources Evaluate Sources Put it Together Put it Together
  • 47. Put it Together Know when to cite Paraphrasing Summarizing Quoting From Capella University Library Research Handbook
  • 48. Put it Together You wrote: In the book, Gregor realizes that he is “a tool of his boss without brain or a backbone”. A. Cite it B. Don’t cite it
  • 49. Put it Together A. Cite it B. Don’t cite it You wrote: According to the report, 7 out of 10 students prefer green Universities.
  • 50. Put it Together A. Cite it B. Don’t cite it You wrote: The Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the only one that has been repealed.
  • 51. Put it Together Know how to cite – What format is your instructor requiring? APA? MLA? Chicago Style? – Incorporated research requires in-text citation and complete citation in a reference list or bibliography
  • 52. Put it Together What should you do at this stage?
  • 53. Put it Together Where can you get help at this stage? – Library’s Citing Sources page – NoodleBib – SOS workshops on APA and MLA citing – Your instructor – The Writing Center – Ask a Librarian
  • 54. Develop Research Plan Do Background Research Create Search Strategy Find Sources Evaluate Sources Put it Together Based on Scholarly Research Cycle, Capella University