Research Process

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Research Process

  1. 1. The Research Process
  2. 2. Step One: Do You Have a Research Project? <ul><li>When you get your assignment, take a step back and look at what it is your instructor is really asking for. </li></ul><ul><li>The nature of the project is going to dictate the types of resources you are going to use, even though the actual process is the same. </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t understand the assignment ask your instructor. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Step Two: Do You Understand What the Requirements Are? <ul><li>Read the assignment carefully as every instructor has different rules. </li></ul><ul><li>Many instructors have guidelines on how many and what types of resources you can use. A common one is you can’t use the Internet. Chances are they are not barring you from using e-resources the Libraries subscribe to, they just don’t want you to use any old Web site. </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t understand what the requirements are, ask you instructor. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Step Three: Do You Have a Topic For Your Research Paper? <ul><li>The topic of your research paper is your hypothesis, which can be phrased in the form of a research question or a research statement. </li></ul><ul><li>Hey Karenann, what’s a hypothesis? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the sciences a hypothesis is, “a tentative supposition with regard to an unknown state of affairs, the truth of which is subject to investigation by any available method , either by logical deduction or consequences which may be checked against what is known, or by direct experimental investigation or discovery of facts not hitherto known and suggested by the hypothesis…” –McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember we’re talking about the sciences here, and they have a specific definition of hypothesis. Outside of the sciences the definition is less precise, and it’s the one we are all familiar with </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Step Four: Develop Your Topic Using Sources for Background Information <ul><li>Background information helps you learn more about your topic. It’s particularly helpful when your topic has been assigned to you, and is not something you picked yourself. </li></ul><ul><li>Sources of Background Information include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dictionaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject-specific dictionaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encyclopedias </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject-specific encyclopedias </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chronologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yearbooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Almanacs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hey Karenann, what about Wikipedia. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is what I tell all of my classes, if you are going to use Wikipedia, use it for your own purposes. Do not cite it in a paper, find a print encyclopedia or the online version of a print encyclopedia instead. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Step Five: Generating Keywords for Searches <ul><li>Take your research question, the background knowledge you have obtained and start pulling out the key concepts of your research. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>My research statement is, BIRDS EVOLVED FROM DINOSAURS. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My key concepts are BIRDS, DINOSAURS, EVOLUTION </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After looking in reference sources I have decided some of my keywords might be: BIRDS, DINOSAURS, EVOLUTION, FOSSILS, FEATHERS, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Step Six: Search <ul><li>Searching any database, catalogue, or the Web is an inexact science, but here are some things to remember: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AND narrows your search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OR expands your search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put phrases in quotation marks to make sure they will be searched as phrases, e.g., “urban heat island” or “electron transfer” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To group like things together try parentheses, e.g., (viruses OR pathogens) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Step Seven: Evaluate What You’ve Found <ul><li>In this class we are talking about evaluating materials in the sciences, where we will ask: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the article original scientific research? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does the article focus on a single, well-defined topic-the hypothesis-which is the starting point for the research? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does the article describe the experimental or computational design? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does the article outline the methods? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does the article contain statistically quantifiable data that either supports or refutes the hypothesis? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does the article discuss the results? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does the article suggest a course for future research? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Was the article published in a peer-reviewed journal? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it objective? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do the authors pose a hypothesis that can be tested? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are the objectives and methods written clearly and explained adequately? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are the results written in language that is unambiguous and free of bias? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can the sponsor be ascertained easily? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can the author’s credentials be ascertained easily? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it valid? That is, does the evidence answer the question the author(s) pose? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Responsiveness: The evidence answers the question put forth in the hyothesis. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Robustness: The researchers used established methods and techniques </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reliability: Other researchers performed the same tests on the same instruments, and got the same results. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rigor: The interpretation of the results makes sense and is consistent with the results of similar work. If the results are not consistent, the authors explain those inconsistencies adequately. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Karenann Jurecki 131 Owen Library [email_address]

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