Demystifying Research


Published on

A short presentation explaining the basic differences between personal and academic research - used as the basis for a workshop and as an introduction to academic research for final year undergraduates.

Published in: Education, Technology
1 Comment
  • please note a change to the email address shown on the first slide - it is now
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Demystifying Research

  1. 1. Demystifying Research <ul><li>Dr Clare Atkins, Research Leader </li></ul><ul><li>NMIT,Nelson </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  2. 2. Structure <ul><li>Look at what you think research is </li></ul><ul><li>Look at what you do </li></ul><ul><li>Look at what ‘Research’ is </li></ul><ul><li>Look at how to turn research into Research </li></ul><ul><li>Look at how you can turn your research into Research </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose : Show that Research is not so scary! </li></ul><ul><li>Hidden Agenda: Have some fun! </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is research? <ul><li>What are your ideas? </li></ul><ul><li>Suggestions …… </li></ul><ul><li>Finding out about something </li></ul><ul><li>Solving a problem </li></ul><ul><li>Answering a difficult question </li></ul><ul><li>Discovering patterns/trends in things </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying problems that need solving </li></ul>
  4. 4. For Example <ul><li>Finding out about something? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do cats eat ? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solving a problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why won’t my cat eat chicken necks? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Answering a difficult question? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What will she eat (will it sustain her,can I afford it)? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discovering patterns/trends in things </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why does she sometimes want fish not liver? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Identifying problems that need solving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why is she more neurotic than next-door’s. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Everyday Stuff <ul><li>Think of an example of one of those things that you have done recently….. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Buying a new car/computer/house…… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finding out what your students need….. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deciding where to go on holiday….. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deciding whether to take your </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cat to the vet!!!… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Share one with your neighbour and identify the process you went through…. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Everyday Stuff <ul><li>So what were the processes you used? </li></ul><ul><li>Asked others casually or formally </li></ul><ul><li>Gathered information - net search, reading magazines etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Observed , used past experience as a guide </li></ul><ul><li>Decided and acted on it </li></ul><ul><li>Told others about it and explained to anyone who would listen, why you made that decision </li></ul><ul><li>Others …………..? </li></ul><ul><li>This is all research but…… </li></ul>
  7. 7. What is Research? <ul><li>“ A search or investigation undertaken to discover facts and reach new conclusions by the critical study of a subject or by a course of scientific enquiry” </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter Oxford Dictionary (1993) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Systematic investigation into and study of materials, sources etc., to establish facts, collate information etc..” </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter Oxford Dictionary (1993) </li></ul>
  8. 8. How is this different? <ul><li>Critical : involving careful judgment or observation </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific : valid according to the objective principles of scientific method (consisting of systematic observation, measurement and experiment with the formulation, testing and modification of hypotheses) i.e. repeatable </li></ul><ul><li>Systematic : arranged or conducted according to a system, plan or organised method…. </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter Oxford Dictionary (1993) </li></ul>
  9. 9. What are the implications? <ul><li>We need to be systematic about </li></ul><ul><li>what we want to know </li></ul><ul><li>what process we are going to follow </li></ul><ul><li>how we are going to discover this knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>We need to be able to </li></ul><ul><li>describe the whole thing so someone else can do it again with same or similar result </li></ul><ul><li>explain how we arrived at our conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>explain how what we have done fits with whatever is already known </li></ul>
  10. 10. General Research Process <ul><li>Identity research focus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>general area of interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do I want to know ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(the more specific the better) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Identify type of research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g pattern discovery, problem solving etc…. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>define the ‘question’ tightly and clearly as possible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Identify type of research design </li></ul><ul><ul><li>survey, observations, experiment….. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discover what is already known </li></ul><ul><ul><li>gather as much info as you can </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use as many sources as you can </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>identify which ones are ‘reliable’ i.e. which do you believe? Why? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. General Research Process <ul><li>Do what you’ve planned/collect results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>test it out first, if appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>check you’re asking the right questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Collate, analyse, integrate results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the fun bit! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>take time out to reflect on what it all means </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Draw conclusions and summarise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>what didn’t you discover? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>did it confirm what you had thought would be the case? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Were you biased in any way? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Link your findings to what’s known </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how does this ‘new’ stuff compare to what others have done? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reflect on what else could be done </li></ul><ul><ul><li>what if I had asked this…. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>what if I had observed for longer </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. General Research Process <ul><li>Put your knowledge into the sharable pool </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PRESENT IT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to anyone who will listen! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to your group, your department, your institute </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to your interest group, your students, your advisory group </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to your conference! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PUBLISH IT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>in a newsletter, local newspaper, local radio, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>in a specialist magazine or academic journal </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>write a book…..! </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. How do we turn our research into Research? <ul><li>Think carefully about what we want to know </li></ul><ul><li>Plan carefully how we are going to find out </li></ul><ul><li>Try to be objective (or at least recognise our bias) in our doing and rationalising </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss with others - often! </li></ul><ul><li>Get it out there for others to criticise , think about, work from…. </li></ul><ul><li>Constantly wonder - how could I make this more useful? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Back to the cat! <ul><li>Cat nutrition and psychology - why will my cat only eat fish sometimes? </li></ul><ul><li>Pattern Discovery </li></ul><ul><li>Observation and Experiment </li></ul><ul><li>Search net, talk to vet, get books </li></ul><ul><li>Watch/note closely for 2 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Write up notes and think </li></ul><ul><li>She only eats fish on Fridays! </li></ul><ul><li>Have others found this? Some say only eat fish if….. </li></ul><ul><li>What if I had watched for 2 months? </li></ul><ul><li>Put it all up on my web-page (good idea?) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Your turn now <ul><li>With your neighbour ….. </li></ul><ul><li>Decide on what you would like to know </li></ul><ul><li>Sketch out ideas for the first 4 steps </li></ul>
  16. 16. Conclusion <ul><li>Research is fun, exciting and very rewarding </li></ul><ul><li>There is no mystery to it - just a more formal approach than we generally use </li></ul><ul><li>Research is not always about winning a Nobel prize, just about gradually adding to the general pool of knowledge…. </li></ul><ul><li>You can do it! </li></ul>
  17. 17. My promise to you <ul><li>When you see that first piece of published research with your name on it </li></ul><ul><li>You’ll be the cat who finally got the cream! </li></ul>