Research Perspectives• Identifying a Research Topic• Format for a Proposal• Writing Tips• Publishing Your Results• Ethical Issues
Identifying a Research Topic• Read, read, read (record notes)• Observation (record notes)• Talking with others (record notes) – Mentors – Colleagues – Stakeholders• Seek to identify a problem – Something causing a problem for people, resources – Phenomena that are not well understood
Format for a Proposal• Introduction – Statement of the problem • Problem stated in one concise sentence • Significance – Who would be interested in your study? – Place your study in the context of bigger problems
Format for a Proposal• Introduction (continued) – Purpose and objectives (or research questions) • Overall purpose stated in one sentence • Itemize objectives (specific tasks) that must be achieved • Objectives could be replaced by research questions
Format for a Proposal• Introduction (continued) – Research questions or hypotheses • Research question: what do you want to know (could be redundant with objectives) • Hypotheses: predictions – Null hypotheses vs. alternate hypotheses – Directional vs. non-directional alternate hypotheses
Format for a Proposal• Introduction (continued) – Definition of terms • Define all terms in proposal: title, problem statement, purpose & objectives, theory, research questions & hypotheses, literature review, methods • Define when first used
Format for a Proposal• Introduction (continued) – Delimitations and limitations • Delimitations: narrow scope of your study (variables, location, approach) • Limitations: potential weaknesses of your study
Format for a Proposal• Review of the literature – Organize your note-taking by “central argument” – Write-down ideas in your words – Demonstrate that you are familiar with the literature on this topic – Summarize what is already understood and what is still NOT well understood – Do competing schools of thought exist?
Format for a Proposal• Review of the literature – Has the topic been studied anywhere? If so, what was found? What remains to be understood? – Has it been studied in your study area? If so, previous findings? If not, what might be different about your study area?
Format for a Proposal• Methods – General research approach • Quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods • Field, lab, maps, remotely sensed imagery, archival… – Techniques of data acquisition • What variables: how many samples, where, how often
Format for a Proposal• Methods (continued) – Techniques of data analysis • lab work, statistics, computer analyses, etc. – Justify why each procedure is needed and why that particular method is best suited
Format for a Proposal• Expected Results – Preliminary studies, pilot studies – How will raw data be reported? • Tables, maps, figures, descriptive statistics,… – How will data interpretations appear?
Format for a Proposal• References Cited• Appendices – Timetable • list of tasks for each objective and when that work will be undertaken – Budget • outline the expected costs & sources of funding – Where will findings be reported? • thesis, journal publication, professional meeting
Writing Tips• Getting started – Take the notes from your literature and set next to guidelines for proposal writing – Develop an outline of ideas, sentences – Track objectives/research questions through proposal (“coherence”) • Literature review • Methods • Expected results
Writing Tips• Write your first draft – Shift and sort your ideas – Share your ideas with friends, colleagues, advisor
Writing Tips• Readability – Voice tense (in proposal) • Past/present tense in problem statement • Future tense in purpose and objectives: “The purpose of this study will be to… • Past tense in literature review: “Jones (2006) found…” • Future tense in methods
Writing Tips• Readability – Does each paragraph develop one idea fully? – Smooth transition between paragraphs? – Proper use of subheadings?
Writing Tips• Critique – see Marston handouts – See example of copyediting
Writing Tips• Grammar – The word “data” is plural • Write “…the data show” not “the data shows.” – Be consistent in using terms: avoid synonyms
Publishing Your Results• Co-Editor-in-Chief, Geomorphology• Member of Editorial Board, Annals of the AAG• Frequent reviewer • Edited 1500 manuscripts • 261 manuscripts, excl. editing • 217 research grant proposals
Publishing Your Results• Why should you publish? • Sense of accomplishment • Making a contribution • Getting that first job • Promotion (and tenure in academia)
Publishing Your Results• Brunn (1987): Five levels of research- oriented faculty…seek a good match…you & employer • Publish in 4-5 major disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals each year • Publish 1-3 major papers per year • Publish a paper every other year
Publishing Your Results• Brunn (1987): Five levels of research- oriented faculty…seek a good match…you & employer • Conduct research but rarely present papers at meetings and rarely publish • “Professionally inactive:” no research, do not attend meetings, never publish
Publishing Your Results• Where should you publish? • Disciplinary journals • Annals of the AAG, The Professional Geographer • Geographical Review • Interdisciplinary Journals • Mountain Research and Development • Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Publishing Your Results• Where should you publish? • Specialty journals • Geomorphology • Physical Geography • Regional journals
Publishing Your Results• Manuscripts must be author’s own original research • Not previously published elsewhere • Not being considered for publication elsewhere • Properly credits meaningful contribution of co- authors • No “shingling”• Authors shall not plagiarize the work of others
Publishing Your Results• Manuscripts must be prepared in the format for the journal • Abstract & keywords, text, figures, tables• Manuscript must be free from grammatical errors • Authors whose native language is not English• Recommended general reference: Geowriting (5th ed., 2004), by Robert Bates, Marla D. Adkins-Heljeson, and Rex Buchanan
Publishing Your Results• Why manuscripts are rejected • Not appropriate for journal • Lack of rigor in methods • Interpretations not supported • Format, grammar
Publishing Your Results• If your manuscript is rejected… • Revise and resubmit! • Provide editor with detailed list of how you addressed the comments of reviewers (item-by-item) and comments from editor • Submit to another journal
Publishing Your Results• Thank the editor!
Ethical Issues• Deception in problem statement, purpose, research questions• In data collection: letter of disclosure – Permission to access site – Will site be disturbed? – Possibility of information developed during the study that could be harmful to landowners
Ethical Issues• In data collection: Institutional Review Board (IRB) when human subjects are involved – Must assess risk for damage: physical, health, psychological, social, economic, legal, groups?
Ethical Issues– Must develop Informed Consent Form for participants to sign before they are engaged • Right to participate is voluntary and they can withdraw at any time • Purpose, methods identified • Participants have right to ask questions, privacy will be respected, can obtain copy of final study • Benefits of study to individual, groups?
Ethical Issues• In data analysis & interpretation – Need to protect anonymity of participants? – Archive data for 5-10 years, then discard • Who owns data? Funding agency? Researcher?
Ethical Issues• In data analysis & interpretation (continued) – February 2010 issue of The American Naturalist announced an important development in Open Data within biology. The essentials of the policy are… – Data underlying an article needs to be archived by the authors at the time of publication. – The appropriate form of the data is the final processed form used in analysis..
Ethical Issues• In data analysis & interpretation (continued) – The essentials of the policy are… – The data must be archived in an approved repository (one that makes it publicly available, has a guarantee of persistence, etc). – The author should provide sufficient details so that a third party can reasonably interpret the data correctly. – Embargoes of up to one year may be permitted, depending on the journal. – Exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the editor, especially for sensitive information such as human subject data or the location of endangered species.
Ethical Issues• In disseminating results of research – Are results proprietary? – Avoid language that express bias against groups on basis of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, age, … – Anticipate repercussions of reporting results to individuals, groups
Ethical Issues• Research fraud – Plagiarizing • Plagiarism is easy to avoid; credit your sources. Always credit your sources. Always. • Plagiarism is easy to detect--your professors simply pop over to the Google line (Google classic, Google Scholar and Google Books) plus a few of the journal article databases the Libraries subscribe to like Expanded Academic and JStor. • And, in the classic phrase of third-graders everywhere, "Dont be stupid.”