06 October 2016

Research Process

Academic Research

Academic research focuses on the formation of fresh ideas, concepts, viewpoints, and arguments. The academic researcher searches in the library and the internet for reliable and applicable evidence, statistics and ideas in books, journal articles, manuscripts, and various other sources. Then the researcher develops an informed and learned standpoint and draws objective conclusions.

The academic research process is not simply finding and collecting information and putting it together into a paper. The academic research process is also about the investigation. The researcher asks questions and develops answers to these questions through serious and focused critical and attentive thinking.

The academic researcher regularly reconsiders his ideas, searches for new data whenever it is needed, reviews and improves the topic, the title of the topic, the research question or the research method. The researcher continually studies, reflects, revises and improves.

Academic research is a difficult process, therefore it is absolutely typical to feel nervous, worried, frustrated, dissatisfied or confused. Actually, if you feel anxious, it can be an indication that you are engaging in serious research and will most probably write a high-quality academic research essay.

We should think of the academic research process not as a huge mountain impossible to climb, a terribly difficult job. We should think of academic research as a series of small, connected stairs. Sometimes these stairs can be chaotic, messy and difficult to climb. However, thinking about research as climbing the stairs can help us to be successful. 

Steps of the Research Process

(1) What is the problem? Select a general topic that interests you in some way and formulate a title.

The first step for any research paper is to formulate a question you want to answer. Being clear on the question makes it easier to formulate a research strategy for finding the best information about this question.

Here are some examples of research questions:
Is obesity in children a form of child abuse?
What are the best interventions for preventing youth violence in Asian urban communities?
How can social workers best meet the needs of children of illegal immigrants?
Are there proven ways to increase trust when urban communities become polarized?
When starting your research you may or may not have a clear question but by starting with an idea and formulating this idea into a question you will be able to review the literature already written on this topic which will likely help you to refine and narrow your questions or give you ideas for new research questions you may not have thought about previously.

(2) What is the background?

Start your research with general background resources. This will help you to become familiar with the research history in the area related to your problem/question. Reading general background also helps researchers become familiar with terminology and jargon used in specific research areas. Knowing the words experts use will help you find to craft a better search when you begin searching for information in books and scholarly journals.

Examples of general resources to consider include:
Subject Encyclopedias

(3) Find the past and current research in the field.

Find information in the library and the Internet: videos, archives, special collections, journal titles, books and many other electronic resources. 

(4) Find the past & current research - articles.

The next step in the research process is to find scholarly journal articles appropriate to your topic. 

(5) Collect, evaluate critically and write. Quote and paraphrase.

(6) Classify information and write references in APA style

You will also have to study the APA Style Manual:

Research Advice

1. Select a general topic that interests you in some way.
2. List keywords to help you look up information about the topic.
3. Go to an encyclopedia, or other reference sources, to get an overview of the topic.
4. Make source cards for whatever sources you will use for information.
5. Using the general overview, begin to focus the topic into something you can cover well.
6. Write a statement of purpose about the focused topic.
7. Brainstorm questions about the focused topic.
8. Group questions under similar headings.
9. Add any new questions you can think of under those headings.
10. Repeat step 2, listing more keywords from your newly focused topic and questions.
11. Make a list of possible sources that can answer your questions. Identify the best sources to use.
12. Find the sources in the library, on the computer, etc. Make a source card for each one you use.
13. Begin making note cards. Use your brainstormed questions to guide your note-taking.
14. Change your statement of purpose into a draft thesis statement.
15. Make an outline of your headings. 
16. Refocus your thesis statement if necessary.
17. Write the body of your paper from your notes.
18. Cite any necessary information with parenthetical citations.
19. Write your introduction and conclusion.
20. Write your Works Cited (it is similar to a bibliography).
21. Create a title page.
22. Evaluate your work.

Read more:
APA for Academic Writing

Useful Search Engines

No comments:

Post a Comment