This guide will walk you through the steps necessary to complete any research assignment and help you avoid the stress associated with waiting until the last minute to get started.
What exactly IS Research?
- Driven by a question or problem that then guides the process
- Seeking information with a clear goal in mind
- A process, which works best when done step- by-step. The steps may need to be repeated, as the process is reiterative
- Collection and interpretation of data in an attempt to resolve the problem or answer the question
- Going beyond facts and old ideas
- Taking a new look at the information and taking a stand
Research is not:
- Copying and pasting information you find through a Google search
- Combining a paragraph from one article with a couple of paragraphs from websites. That's plagiarism.
- Writing a "report"
- Rearranging facts
- Rewording each phrase and citing each source. That's just a summary of facts with someone else's name on them and still can be classified as plagiarism.
Words for the wise student:
Netcaster. David Douglas Duncan, Mexico, 1937. Photography Collection.
- Remember, begin with a "wide net" in your search and then narrow your search results from there. You will generally find more information than with a very narrow search.
- Don't wear "blinders" as you look for information on your topic. If you only look for specific information to answer a specific question, you may miss many opportunities to broaden your understanding of your topic.
- Allow for surprises- you may find your views on your topic will change and take you in an entirely new direction.
- Remember that research is searching again and again (re - search).
- In the process of doing research, you will be looking at information that others have looked at before, trying to see something that they have not seen.
Research Definition from the OED (Oxford English Dictionary)
“Google is not a synonym for research.”
Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol
Systematic investigation or inquiry aimed at contributing to knowledge of a theory, topic, etc., by careful consideration, observation, or study of a subject. http://www.oed.com/