Research

I’ve written the word research so many times in the past 2 hours that It no longer sounds like a an actual word

Temporary Debrief- 

 Credibility, and sourcing or sourcing out; Quantitative research; Research opportunities and experience; Independent Research; Information on online research, its pros and cons, and online research shortcuts; Traditional research, its pros and cons, literary and lecture events, libraries, and field research; Ethics?

Whether it happens to be googling the nearest open IHop at 2am on the second Thursday of february 2017, or and in depth statistical and field research project spanning several months, the concept of research is something that everyone is familiar with at least to some extent. However one thing the majority of people don’t consider are the countless types of research and how deeply ingrained, and subconscious it really is. Increasing our knowledge inventory and sharing all of the different discoveries, theories, applications, and systems with one another is an extremely necessary component of moving forward. The best part, is that there’s obviously, no limit to the quantity of credible information we can share. While from a shallower perspective, all of the may seem elementary, delving into the topic will reveal its truly complex nature; of course this is also true with any other topic. This article is doing to address the topic of numerous research types, credibility, sourcing, and research strategies. 

I. Research Online

Finding information online can end up being a lot trickier than one might be led to believe. I have found that it tends to have a lot of really strong pros, but also some very negative cons, especially in regards to literary and scientific topics. Nowadays the internet is probably the biggest source of information in existence and among all of the incredibly high quality, well sourced, credible papers, studies, reports, and articles, there is also a lot of very questionable stuff. Both of these categories being almost completely accessible to the general public. So all that being said, you need to be able to carefully pick the gold nuggets out of the raging dumpster-fire that is the internet. 

Most Important Things to Note

Google Scholar- Google Scholar is going to be one of your most useful tools for finding professionally published, scholarly literature. It’s accessed by simply typing in “Google Scholar” to your search engine, and clicking the google scholar url. The Google Scholar database limits your results to peer-reviewed academic journals, articles, books, reports, papers, etc. Typically the media will root from a university, governmental facility, research institution, or anything of the likes. Of course it has its flaws, but overall it will probably be your best bet in terms of finding the kind of stuff I listed above. 

Search Engine Shortcut- As it turns out, there are a lot of tiny short cuts you can use to find what you need when googling specific things that have proven extremely. Here’s a tiny list-

  • When quoting something, use an asterisk to specify words that you don’t know, or are variable.
  • Use quotation marks when you’re trying to find something based on an exact phrase.    
  • When trying to eliminate certain words or phrases from your search results, use a hyphen and then type the thing you don’t want after it.
  • If you want to find a website, excluding, buting relating to another website, use the syntax related:website.com  

II. Accessible Pre Documented Research

The internet isn’t the only place for useful information. I could go on for a long time about how underrated libraries are in my opinion but I’ll spare the technicalities and sum it up. While online research has all of it’s benefits, there are a lot of other “irl” options that can give you the opportunity to really expand your knowledge of specific subjects to an entirely new level. A lot of libraries will have stuff for free that you won’t be able to find online, with the guarantee of being legitimate. This is especially the case with university libraries, them being the ultimate heavenly database of credible research journals, reports, and articles. Some university libraries are restricted to students affiliated with said university, but many are accessible to the public. In addition to libraries offering all of those on paper resources, many of them also frequently host a number of different seminars, lectures, and other community events. 

Some In-Person Education Suggestions and Descriptions

Conventions/ Conferences- Organised events for individuals affiliated with a certain field or topic. They will usually involve meetings; seminars; show cases; etc. In many circumstances specialised conventions are restricted to professional personnel and/or mostly require payment, but there are exceptions.

College Courses- College, obviously, is a more committal method of education, but I am not necessarily referring to getting a masters degree at a university. Community colleges can offer a multitude of different courses that are relatively accessible. While signing up may be somewhat of a process, you can take college courses without being enrolled, and it’s pretty common too. 

III. Traditional Research

While simply using the term “Traditional Research” actually incompuses a multitude of different things, the technical meaning is research that is quantitative or experimental, involving scientific method. Most people have learned about scientific method somewhere along their education and subsequently came to understand that it is essentially the empirical basis of all scientific research. This strong root for information development will branch off into several different systems such as statistical data collection; field research; experimental methods; theoretics; Cross-Sectional; Longitudinal; etc. Of course, all of these methods will fall on to different levels of feasibility for different individuals in different situations. If you just so happen to be a Particle Physicist with a PhD in Physical Sciences conducting research on the site of The Hadron Collider, hands on information is inherent. However, the average student doesn’t have access to an advanced particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland. So if you were to take up a casual interest in the fundamental constituents of matter and radiation, an independent qualitative research project may not be feasible. This is where the beauty of online research, as discussed before, and the next topic, documented research come in.

Some Examples and Descriptions- 

Quantitative Research- The collection and analysis of data from an observable event using precise statistical and mathematical methods. This type of research is used to quantify the subject/topic using a numerical system(s) and transform it into usable statistics. 

Qualitative Research- The method of gathering non-numerical data through raw observation. This type of research is applicable to description of symbols, characteristics, and theory of the topic, among other immeasurable concepts.

Cross Sectional Research- A more specific type of research investigating the data and observation of the topic’s population or representative subset at a certain point in time.

Longitudinal Research- An observational study in which specified data is collected from the same subjects repeatedly over a set period of time. This type of research is often used in sociology and psychological sciences. 

Experimental Research- An experimental study carried out, often to either negate or prove a hypothesis. Experiments are used to investigate the cause-and-effect of the given subject by providing outcomes in response to the manipulation of different aspects of the experiment.  

Theoretical Research- The logical exploration of a system through thoughts, assumptions, and beliefs, often based purely on observation. Often times contradictory to the empirical systems of the scientific method.   

IV. Citing and Plagiarism  

One thing you always need to take into account is citing your information. Plagiarism is considered a breach of journalistic ethics and a Serious offense, and the more you advance in academia and/or research based professions, the bigger the consequences will get. In a normal highschool class, you would probably fail your assignment or have a grade reduction, and would definitely get in a lot of trouble. But in college or a professional setting, plagiarism can result in suspension or dismissal altogether, with serious damage to your reputation. 

There are a few very crucial factors to remember when it comes to avoiding plagiarism; Including quotations, paraphrasing, and Citing your sources. Along with these three things, there are also a number of different tools to utilize. 

Factors in Avoiding Plagiarism 

Quotations- If you want to directly reference a source in your paper, always use quotation marks. Also making sure to write in the quoted segment exactly as it was originally written, making it very clear that you are referencing something else. 

Paraphrasing- When using the information you gathered from another source for the topic of your paper, always make sure to paraphrase. This means rewording the information and usually conveying it in a way that fits the context of your paper. This isn’t to say that you should look at one source and just reword the entire thing to write your paper. Even, ignoring the plagiarism side of things, if you only have one source for a typical research project, you probably need to rethink.

Citing- All of the information listed prior is essentially useless if you weren’t planning on citing in the first place. This involves listing your exact sources clearly and in a format applicable to whatever the requirements are eg; MLA; APA; Chicago; Turabian. The primary way of listing your sources is an annotated bibliography, basically just a list of all of your citations.

Tools

Plagiarism Checker- A software that compares the text you input against a database. It’s meant to detect identical or near identical passages. You can usually find one of these online.   

Automatic Citation- You can go online and find several different bibliography generators that will correctly format your citations for you. You just need to input the basic information about the sources you intend to cite, such as publish date, author, co. author, institution, etc. 

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