Twc Chapter 11 Researching And Research Methods

Summary

When we work on a project, we need to research and prove our opinions on the subjects. Having an effective and efficient research method can save time and provide accurate data that can help us achieve our goal. Chapter 11 reveals important information and factors of “Researching and Research Methods” which are:

  • How to define your research subject using logical mapping to define its boundaries.
  • How to formulate a research question or hypothesis that will guide your research.
  • To develop a research methodology and revise it as needed.
  • Methods for triangulating information to ensure reliability.
  • To use the many available electronic research tools.
  • To find electronic, print, and empirical sources for your research.

Thus, the chapter is split into six sections. Among these sections is, “How to define your research subject using logical mapping to define its boundaries,” which is the most relevant to us. The initial stages of research are imperative but complicated; sometimes it is a major obstacle to start our research. To begin, researchers usually use both primary and secondary sources to gather data. Primary sources provide information mainly from observations, experiments, surveys, ethnographies, testing and interviews, while secondary sources can come from academic journals, magazines, websites and even DVDs and so forth. In addition, there should be a final process to appraise collected information and determine reliability.

To define a research subject, we need to define it as clearly as possible. We can identify something that we already know and highlight particular areas that we need to research more. Additionally, a logical map of the subject is vital to the research. To design a logical map, you first need to write the subject in the middle and then add everything, which you already know well, around the subject. In addition, once you find something that is unrelated to the subject, don’t delete it. Instead, you can keep it and consider it as creative thinking which may offer you better insights into the subject. The process of narrowing your research subject is extremely important. You can choose an angle, which is a particular direction that the research will follow, to help narrow the subject.

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(http://along44.edublogs.org/files/2009/01/mind-map.jpg)
Logical Map

Formulating a research question or hypothesis can help to guide your empirical and analytical research. This question need not be very detailed or specific; instead, it should simply show a direction that your research will follow. Each research question has a corresponding hypothesis, or proper guess to the question.

Furthermore, when developing your research, you also need to develop a research methodology to help shape and expand the project. A research methodology is a step-by-step procedure that helps you study the subject. During this time, a logical mapping can be helpful again. First you would write the purpose in the middle of the screen or paper, and then you would add some major affiliated steps to reach the purpose. After the mapping is complete, there should be a description of methodology which as following:

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(Outlining a Research Methodology)

No one can testify to the reliability of the subject without any collected information. Thus, triangulating materials is needed to compare and contrast sources. Solid research usually draws from electronic sources, print sources and empirical sources. As a reference, you can verify that information is reliable when you find similar facts in all of or two of three kinds of sources. On the other hand, it may not be reliable if you just find information in one kind of source.

There are many way to find sources for your research. Using electronic sources is the most convenient way. Electronic sources includes websites, CD-ROMs, Listservs, television and radio, research databases, podcasts, videos and blogs. All of them are easy to use and access; therefore, electronic sources are easy to manipulate. There are also print sources which includes books, journals, magazines and newspapers, government publications, reference materials, and microform/microfiche. In addition, the empirical sources are imperative and can be either quantitative or qualitative. Examples of empirical sources are experiments, field observations, interviews, surveys and questionnaires, ethnographies, and case studies. Electronic, print and empirical sources are all very useful and helpful for developing and collecting research.

Research and researching methodology are used for a wide realm of studies. They help people collect resources and analyze them to make sure they are reliable. Having a logic map for both subjects and methodology is very important to design a commendable project.

Quotations

  • “A good research process begins by clearly defining the research subject." (page 291)
  • “An angle is a specific direction that your research will follow." (page 293)
  • “Your hypothesis is your best guess about an answer to your question." (page 293)
  • “A good methodology is like a treasure map." (page 296)
  • “Research is a process of discovery." (page 296)
  • “Triangulation allows you to compare and contrast sources, thereby helping you determine which information is reliable and which is not." (page 297)

Reaction

Chapter 11 of Technical Writing for CCNY provides an abundance of tools and strategies for defining, researching, and refining a research topic. From creating logical maps to triangulating different types of resources, chapter 11 has you covered. Some of these tools are useful, while others are a bit excessive— in this case meaning useful or excessive for college freshman.

Chapter 11 first advises that you define your research topic with the help of a logical map. This involves breaking a broad research topic into smaller parts in order to create a more focused topic. This is an extremely useful tool for college students, because oftentimes students will start off with a topic too large to research effectively, which results in producing data that is not new or useful. The logical map forces you to break down your topic in a way that might not be immediately clear if you used another method. However, chapter 11 does not examine the case where you start with a research topic that is too specific. While that is a rare case, it is possible. It would have been ideal to include a diagram with a type of reverse logical map that explains how you should go about broadening your topic.

Next chapter 11 proposes that you formulate a question for your research topic. This will be the goal you are trying to reach through extensive research. While this may sound like an obvious step when doing research, it is often bypassed by college students. Many times students will jump from their research topic right into the researching stage; this results in broad research results that may bring some new information to light, but don't actually present a new idea or say anything original about your topic. While seemingly small and unimportant, this step is a necessity and is appropriately included in the chapter.

One place where chapter 11 goes overboard (for college students) is during the research methodology stage. The book suggests creating a logical map similar to the one created when refining your subject, but to additionally list the major and minor steps needed to perform the research as well as your expected findings. While this may be a useful step for professionals performing comprehensive research, it is unrealistic to expect college students to perform all the background work suggested by chapter 11. Oftentimes students procrastinate and are working close to a deadline, and in those circumstances extra steps like these are thrown out.

Finally, chapter 11 dives into the different types of sources one could draw their research from: print, electronic, and empirical sources. One great point raised in this section is that in today's world many people skip over print sources in favor of electronic sources. Instead of proclaiming that one is better than the other, chapter 11 encourages gathering data from all three types of sources. For college students print sources may seem unnecessary, since most items in print are also available electronically. However chapter 11 raises the valid point that print sources have more credibility, and can additionally help verify that the information found from an electronic source was valid.

When it comes to empirical sources, chapter 11 again expects too much out of college students. The book suggests the majority of your evidence be empirical. While it is true that ideally the majority of your research is empirical (after all, empirical research is targeted directly at your research questions and topic, and produces the most credible results), it is impossible to expect college students to have the resources needed to carry out empirical research. While limited experiments and surveys can be carried out, interviews, field reports, and more in-depth surveys or experiments require connections or capital that college students do not have at their disposal.

Chapter 11 provides all the information and tools you could want to go about researching a topic. If you follow the procedure laid out in the text, you could produce very comprehensive and useful research on a topic. Most importantly, this research would produce new and original ideas relating to your topic. Unfortunately, however, not everyone has the resources, connections, or capital needed to carry out some of the procedures given in the text. While this is not the fault of the writers of the textbook, it would have been ideal for chapter 11 to provide some alternatives to the most time and money-consuming procedures.

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