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How to Design a Research Project

An Introduction to the Process of Research

Jason Kelly

on 10 June 2015

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Transcript of How to Design a Research Project

How to Design a Research Project
Director, IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute
Associate Professor of British History
Jason M. Kelly, PhD FSA
755 W. Michigan Ave., UL 4115S
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Research Areas:
18th- and 19th-century British cultural history, history of art and achitecture, history of archaeology, history of environment, history of gender, history of class, open access

Teaching Areas:
18th- and 19th-century British cultural history, history of science, history of empire, digital humanities, world history
I. Introduction

II. What does a scholarly research project look like?

III. How do we formulate a research question?
Outcomes of Today's Discussion
1. General understanding of how scholarly research projects are structured.

2. Framework for organizing your research and developing good research questions.

3. Some tools to help you be better researchers
An Exercise to Get us Started
On the 4x5 cards on your desk, write down three questions that you have about the research process.
Get into groups of 4 people and share your questions with each other.
Choose one question that all of you would like to have answered and turn it in.
What does a scholarly project look like?
Generally, there are two types of questions
that scholarly research attempts to answer...
...practical questions and conceptual questions.
What do you think we mean when we distinguish between practical questions and conceptual questions?
These approaches are sometimes distinguished using concepts such as applied research, translational research, clinical research vs. pure research, basic research, or fundamental research.
However, these fields are not entirely distinct, and, in fact, they inform each other's epistemologies and methods.
One of the best ways to think about framing a research project is to think about how the research might be used.
In other words, what kinds of outcomes are you hoping to achieve?
Do you want to create a tool, a program, a process, a podcast, an article, a book, a blog?
Do you want it to be free for the public? Do you want to commercialize it?
Open Access/

Open Source
The Research
Where does your research project fit?
3 minute break
What is the topic of your research project?
Does it fit the criteria of the flowchart?
HIST H300: The History of Evolution and Human Consciousness (31993)
Tuesdays 3:00-5:40, 3 credits, Fall 2015

Most professional historians focus on studying humans and human societies over the last 500 years. A significant number examine humanity’s history over the past 3000 years. And, a handful analyze the past 10,000 years. However, the earliest humans emerged approximately 2.3 million years ago. This means that well over 2 million years of human history are virtually ignored by most professional historians. 

This is not entirely unexpected. For centuries, scholars lacked the tools and techniques to study the deep history of the human past. However, over the last several decades, new discoveries, technologies, and methodologies have uncovered a rich history embedded in rocks, bones, and genes. Most of this work has been done by scientists and social scientists, but a small number of historians have begun collaborating with them to trace the evolution of humans, their societies and their cultures.  

What these researchers have found has profound consequences — not simply for our understanding of the deep past, but for our understanding of modern societies and cultures. It is evident that professional historians will increasingly need to engage with these discoveries as well as disciplines such as archaeology, evolutionary biology, and neurobiology.  

This course introduces students to these debates by asking a fundamental question: what makes us human? The answer, we will find, requires that we explore the histories of religion, philosophy and science. It will necessitate that we explore the evolution of humans — and most importantly the evolution of brains, consciousness, and culture. We will draw on research from biology, anthropology, and history to explore our pasts, presents, and futures. Topics covered in this course include neuroplasticity, epigenetics, technogenesis, gene-culture co-evolution, cyborgs, and the post-human.

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