TOPICS FOR THIS CLASS
Academic Research vs. Personal Research
Different resources are needed for different topics
 Creati...
WHAT IS RESEARCH?
Research is not:
 gathering data, reorganizing and reporting on it.
Instead, Research creates new knowl...
THE RESEARCH PROCESS
Focus a topic (your claim, opinion, etc.)
Plan a strategy
Locate information
Evaluate information
Org...
THE RESEARCH PROCESS
Focus topic

Synthesize
Plan

Locate
Evaluate

Use
information
FOCUSING YOUR TOPIC

Focus
topic

How do you formulate a good thesis?
Gather background information
Identify or focus on...
HOW TO FOCUS A TOPIC?
Gather background material from:
Specialized references sources, like:
Books
Websites, journal art...
EXAMPLE OF FOCUSING YOUR TOPIC
General topic:

bilingual education
Question:

Is bilingual education working in
America’s ...
EXAMPLE
General topic:

female soldiers and active duty
Question:

Should soldiers be punished for
becoming pregnant in a ...
PLANNING YOUR STRATEGY
Before you start, ask yourself . . .
What keywords will I use to search?
Bilingual education is the...
PLANNING YOUR STRATEGY
Ask yourself . . .
where can I gather background information?
The Web
Encyclopedias
Reference books...
LOCATING INFORMATION
Get ready to use the tools!
Web search tools

Search engines
Portals
Library search tools

Online cat...
EVALUATING INFORMATION
The most important skill you can develop in the
research process is to effectively evaluate what
yo...
Beginning your research
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Beginning your research

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  • Read the 2007 “Beyond Google..” article by Alison Head. Then, read the abstract, conclusion, and student comments from the report. While the two studies show some conflicting results, many of the findings are indicative of problems students face when conducting research at the college level. Consider some of these findings and discuss which ones mirror your behavior/experience/anxiety with research. Do you disagree with any of the findings? React to one student comment from the report.Watch a video on the information cycle. Explain how your topic fits into each step of the information cycle. Summarize five steps of the research process that we discussed in class.Focusing your topicRead a tutorial. Write a short paragraph stating what you already know about your topic. You will go through a discovery process as you attempt to learn more in order to support your thesis. Ask yourself five questions that you think you will need to answer in order to do this.+Look for background information on your topic using the tools we discussed in class. a. Using a search engine, go to Wikipedia. Look for information on your topic. Summarize what you found on Wikipedia. Do you think Did you find useful links to other information sources?b. Describe what you discovered about your topic using print reference sources from the library.c. Find one other source that provides background information on your topic. Describe what your findings.Use the table below to begin tracking the terms, phrases, and/or names that you use to search for information.
  • Teams: find a scholarly article on the Web
  • Must have a topic before beginning the course.My topic is Everglades restoration.
  • Think of hierarchical structure: broader topic, narrower topicThink of keywords (for searching)
  • Beginning your research

    1. 1. TOPICS FOR THIS CLASS Academic Research vs. Personal Research Different resources are needed for different topics  Creating a research topic Locate  Information Basics (Sources, Types, Cycles) Plan  Searching on the Web  Searching Library Resources Evaluate  Analyzing Information  Information Ethics Final project Expected outcome: You will have gathered sufficient background information to provide a basic understanding of your topic and to begin research in earnest.
    2. 2. WHAT IS RESEARCH? Research is not:  gathering data, reorganizing and reporting on it. Instead, Research creates new knowledge. Makes a claim Assesses the quality of available evidence Support your position. Information is our research tool.  By using other (credible) sources, we can build on previous knowledge.
    3. 3. THE RESEARCH PROCESS Focus a topic (your claim, opinion, etc.) Plan a strategy Locate information Evaluate information Organize/synthesize your evidence Use information to support your claim
    4. 4. THE RESEARCH PROCESS Focus topic Synthesize Plan Locate Evaluate Use information
    5. 5. FOCUSING YOUR TOPIC Focus topic How do you formulate a good thesis? Gather background information Identify or focus on one problem or issue relating to your topic. Express the problem or issue as a research question(s). Make sure that your focus is not to broad or narrow. Formulate your thesis. A good research thesis clearly expresses your perspective or stance on a topic or issue .
    6. 6. HOW TO FOCUS A TOPIC? Gather background material from: Specialized references sources, like: Books Websites, journal articles Ask questions (5 W’s).  Who? (limit by gender, age, etc.)  What? (limit by subtopic, issue, problem…)  Where? (limit by geography, location)  When? (limit by time)  Why? (limit by cause)
    7. 7. EXAMPLE OF FOCUSING YOUR TOPIC General topic: bilingual education Question: Is bilingual education working in America’s schools? Working thesis: Bilingual education is the least effective method for teaching English language learners.
    8. 8. EXAMPLE General topic: female soldiers and active duty Question: Should soldiers be punished for becoming pregnant in a war zone? Working thesis: Female soldiers who become pregnant in a war zone threaten the security of their comrades and should be punished.
    9. 9. PLANNING YOUR STRATEGY Before you start, ask yourself . . . What keywords will I use to search? Bilingual education is the least effective method for teaching English language learners. Write them down! Bilingual education, English language, English learners, schools, America
    10. 10. PLANNING YOUR STRATEGY Ask yourself . . . where can I gather background information? The Web Encyclopedias Reference books Organizations Textbooks Experts Diana Hacker's Research and Documentation Online
    11. 11. LOCATING INFORMATION Get ready to use the tools! Web search tools Search engines Portals Library search tools Online catalogs (to find books) Online databases (to find articles)
    12. 12. EVALUATING INFORMATION The most important skill you can develop in the research process is to effectively evaluate what you find. On the Web In a book In an article Always evaluate your information, no matter where you get it! We will discuss evaluating information later.

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