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The Curious Researcher

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Tori Ragin

on 14 July 2014

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Transcript of The Curious Researcher

Find Quality Sources
When information began to become digitized a new phenomenon emerged information began to literally disappear. Determining the illegitimacy of your sources is a necessary step in moving forward.
Finding Quality Sources (cont.)
Keep in mind that the primary aim of your research process isn't to only find stimulating information on your topic but to also find authoritative sources
The publishing date also has great importance Recent publication dates carry more weight
the currency of web pages and online documents are also important. A site that is regularly updated is obviously more likely to have the latest information on that topic
Journal articles take priority over magazine articles because journal articles are carefully documented and often subject to peer review. -Tori
Often-Cited Authors
Often times you will come across authors who are frequently mentioned in bibliographies
These individuals are usually the best in their field so it will become useful to become familiar with their work.
Not All Books Are Alike
Books are NOT always the best source
Always question the validity of what you are reading
The internet is anarchy
Therefore you must become vigilant about trusting the accuracy, balance and reliability
Keys to evaluatiing the reliability of internet sources can be found on pg. 64-67
Developing Focused Knowledge
Focused knowledge is the product of smart research
Always ask yourself if the information is relevant to you inquiry question and does it eventually change the nature of the question you are trying to ask
Don't be afraid to refine your inquiry question as you delve deeper into your paper
Telephone surveys
In- person surveys
Internet surveys
Notetaking Strategies
• Look for evidence that confirms contradicts or qualifies the theories or assertions you've read about in your research
• Look and listen to what people say during moments with particular significance for participants

Using What You See And Hear
Give your topic a face
Make a scene
Incorporate images
Develop a multi-modal research essay
Avoid loaded questions
Avoid vague questions

The Curious Researcher
A Guide to Writing Research Papers

Preparing For Fieldwork
Digital camera
Digital Recorder
Searching the Library Databases for Books and Articles

The most important source/place of information is your campus library
Using your campus library might be overwhelming and uncomfortable to use but it takes some getting used to
The library has made research so much easier for students
Finding Books
There are two systems for organizing books: Dewey Decimal System and The Library of Congress System
The Library of Congress System is much more common in college libraries
It combines both numbers and letter to organize books. It begins with one or two letters (representing a category of knowledge) then followed by a number between 1 and 9,999
Example Of Call #'s
The letters in the first two lines represents the main class or subject of the book
The third line represents the author
The fourth line indicates the date of publication
Books are organized by letters first and then numbers.
One call number can also help you locate similar books that could be near by

Databases are filled with information, and are useful when you are unable to find the information you are looking for in a book
There are two kinds of databases: general databases and specialized databases
Many of these databases contain information on popular newspapers and magazines.
Since specialized data bases are usually on one subject, they will produce scholarly articles that could help narrow down your research.
Developed Focused Knowledge
Focused knowledge is the product of smart research:

Knowing where to look for the most useful information
Using your time efficiently
Depends on what you do with what you find
Search Engines
The most popular search engine is probably Google.
A very large database that is east to use
But it is useful to use a variety of search engines instead of one.
Examples of Search Engines:

Metasearch Engines:

Search Engines cont.
Ways to maximize the efficiency of your Internet Research:

Use multiple search engines, not just one.
Be aware of how many keywords you use, the more relevant words the more hits you may receive
You Have to Start with the Following Questions:
1. Is this information relevant to my inquiry questions?
Relevance: Deciding whether or not the article and/or books are related to the topic
2. Does it change my question?
Refine the Inquiry Question
The more you research the closer you get to your focus question
Establishing what had already been said about your question
Reveal Interesting Patterns
Expect and search for patterns just like experts do.
Does it tell a story?
Is there any persuasive information?
Are there any relationships between facts, theories and/or claims?
You must have a thesis
Develop some ideas and then make a list of theories, assumptions, or beliefs
What are you arguing? You're motive should build a convincing argument
Your thesis should say something about your research question
Developing a Bibliography
Keep track on what you find
Bookmark web pages
Use appropriate citation method
MLA Style: "Bibme.org"

1. Working Bibliography
Adding a brief summary of what the source says, like topics and basic arguments
2. Evaluate Bibliography
So not only do you write a brief summary of what the source says, but you also write whether or not they're persuasive o relevant
Find The Experts
Many students are afraid of finding the people who specialize in their field because their afraid of not being good enough or reaching certain standards. To avoid this they have to open minded.

How to find expert Interview subjects:
Check Your Sources- note the authors of the books, internet documents and articles you use for your research.
Check the phone book- This is one of the most familiar ways to get most of your best interview subjects,
Ask Friends and Instructors- Look for sources wherever you can get take advantage of your peers and the people around you to get info on your topic and help with perspective people you might interview.
Check the faculty directory- This place has an annual directory of faculty and research interests in and out of campus so this can really help you out.
Check the Encyclopedia of Associations- This book lists the organizations with various interests. look through it and you might find an organization whose interest might help you out,
Check the Internet- Use scholarly research based databases to help you research on a more intellectual level, and also to help link you to credible websites with good sources. Also online you can find the names and email addresses of researchers who specialize in your field of interest and are willing to help.
Finding Non-Experts Affected by Your Topic
A non expert is someone who is directly affected by an experience your topic of interest aroused, contrary to an expert who has researched and published articles about it.

They could be anyone Professors, classmates, friends, family etc
If your having problems finding them use social media

Now that you've gone through the steps to get someone to interview all you have to do is contact them. This contact can be done by phone, in person or by email. When contacting state you name, briefly explain your research project and how they could be of any help to you
Now that you finally have the chance to interview the person you want. You have to now think of the questions you have to ask because you don't want to go in unprepared. Here's a guide on how to ask questions at an interview:
Be sure to ask questions that spark a conversation to allow you to get more information opposed to a simple yes or no.
You questions should be straightforward and not beat around the bush, it should be clear cut and straight to the point.
Make eye contact when asking your questions because it shows confidence.
The Importance of a Good Research Strategy
The importance of a research strategy cannot be overstated. Having no research strategy can cost time and the quality of your paper.
A good research strategy can pave a road map for success. A research strategy helps to provide direction and focus as you probe through your search engine. In the time you would take to aimlessly research without knowing exactly what you're looking for you can find accurate research about your topic
Google vs. the Library
In this era googling has become one of the main form of research. It has definitely surpassed using the library database.
Google and the library database both have strengths and flaws. The power and accessibility of Google is unmatched by any other search engine, you can find millions of article on a topic in seconds. The main flaw with google search is that if your search is not precise enough you can find many articles that are not what you are looking for.
Library database searches often finds information that is more credible and accurate, but the library is not nearly as accessible as google. Choosing between the two often depends on whether you prefer the value of the accessibility of an internet search or the higher quality sources.
The answer is to try to complement your library searches and google searches. Doing research in multiple ways will help to enhance your research.

Forming a Complementary Research Strategy
You should not be completely one dimensional when you research. It is ideal to try to get more information than you need because this will help you understand your topic more intensely.
Instead of just using one search engine, it is great to look for research information from multiple sources, like internet search engines, the library, surveys and interviews. This kind of approach will help to find enough information, find varied sources, and find quality information.

Using Good Search Terms
When researching it is imperative to utter the right words in the right order. Using good search terms is an important skill in researching. Searching with the right specific terms in the right order can narrow your incoming articles to the best results.
Vary Sources
When writing a research essay it is important to not rely too heavily on one source. You must vary your sources which means to use a diverse and adequate amount of sources. There are many ways to differentiate sources from each other, they can be primary or secondary sources, objective or subjective or stable or unstable.

Primary and Secondary Sources
Primary sources are the original words of the writer. They can be their speech, letters, poems and biography. Secondary sources analyze, relate, or discusses someone else work. It is best to choose a primary source over a secondary source because the primary source is usually more accurate and more of an authority on the topic.
Digital Camera
Digital Recorder
Objective vs. Subjective
Information in subjective sources usually are based on the opinion of the writer, they are usually based on fact, but they have their own interpretation of the facts and the topic. Examples of subjective sources include government propaganda, blogs, and editorial sections of newspapers. Objective information is usually unbiased, and may review many different points of view. Some examples of objective sources are surveys, experiments, and carefully designed studies
Stable or Unstable
When surfing the web for information it is important to know whether the web page you want to cite is stable or unstable. You don't want to cite a quote or statistics from a web page and find it gone the next day. In order to avoid disappearing web pages you should investigate and find out how long the web page has been around, if its routinely updated, and what kind of reputation the site has. If you suspect a source is unstable it is best to avoid it.
Quality Sources
When you find interesting information on your topic, you should also look to make sure that you're using a credible authoritative source. The best sources are government documents, academic journals and scholarly books. The tradeoff for using these sources is that the writing may be more sophisticated and harder to follow since the intended audience may be specialist in that field. Despite this using a credible source is well worth it. By using a source like an academic journal your audience knows you're relying on the best information available and will view york work as more credible.
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