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This week you read the first module of the” Writing for College” series entitled “Some Crucial Differences Between High School and College Writing” in which the authors laid out the requirement for you as college students to be able to make an argument based on your analysis of a given topic. Many times the assignments you will complete at APUS will require some research and critical analysis of what you’ve read before you provide your written answer.
Some crucial differences between high school and college writing: https://writing-program.uchicago.edu/undergrads/wic1highschool

As you review the basic steps of research, describe difficulties you have had in conducting basic research and presenting your conclusions. This posting should be 500 words or more

What is Research?

Research is defined as the “systematic process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting information” to increase our understanding of the topic in which we are concerned (Leedy Ormond 2005, 2). It is an organized approach to finding answers. This is a simple definition but one that works when we add elements that define research.

Research is not one-dimensional, however, because the reasons that people conduct research are not the same. Research can be a simple search for facts and data to answer a basic question. For example, if one wanted to know the date of a particular event, the goal would be to find that specific answer. If research is intended to provide a summary of facts, but not necessarily to produce new information, the researcher could satisfy his objective by collecting facts and collating them into a coherent report or review. Many research papers at the undergraduate level are at these first two levels. Finally, if the intention of research is to discover a new meaning or an alternate analysis of an existing theory or conclusion, this goal will require a more complicated process. This type of research is commonly employed at the graduate level of study.

  1. Research starts with a problem or question. You have questions about every aspect of your life, and it takes a question to begin the process toward finding answer. A reasonable research path requires a clear, unambiguous question that sets out what you intend to answer. What are you trying to learn?
  2. Research requires a plan. There is no magic associated with a research topic. Finding the answer requires clear goals and a strategy for accomplishing the necessary steps to find information. Large problems require that one break the problems down into smaller pieces.
  3. Research must be guided by a specific question or hypothesis. Once a researcher forms a question of interest and begins to make even the most basic inquiries about a subject, the next logical step is that the researcher comes to a basic guess about the outcome, or hypothesis, based on a logical assumption of the facts known to him. Over time, if hypotheses are supported by data, a researcher comes to believe that there might be a viable theory about the assumptions. Hypotheses can become predictive in nature, and provide “shortcuts” to testing.
  4. Research requires collection and interpretation of data to solve the problem that initiated the research. Once data is collected, it must be interpreted and not all researchers “see” data in the same way because their hypotheses, research question, the type of data collected, and even the researcher’s belief systems affect interpretation of the data despite his best intentions to remain “scientific” (Leedy and Ormond 2005, 2-10).

TYPES OF RESEARCH

Research can also be defined by its purposes. The National Science Foundation divides research into three instrumental types of inquiry:

  • Basic research is defined as systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind.
  • Applied research is defined as systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met.
  • Development is defined as systematic application of knowledge or understanding, directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, and systems or methods, including design, development, and improvement of prototypes and new processes to meet specific requirements” (NSF Website, Definition of Research).

THE RESEARCH CYCLE

Research is also cyclical. That is, one can discern a series of logical steps that a researcher will take as he addresses his problem and seeks in a methodical way to find the answer.

Source for Diagram: University at Melbourne Library Guide http://unimelb.libguides.com/begin_research

  1. Once the research question is defined, the researcher must PLAN a strategy to find the answer.
  2. The researcher must then IDENTIFY what types of sources might best provide the information he needs.
  3. To LOCATE the data the researcher must find the best sources and, according to the request topic, the sources could range from traditional libraries and database searches for articles and books to internet sources. Locating data requires a search strategy.
  4. Once the data is collected, the researcher must EVALUATE it for its validity, completeness, accuracy, and its usefulness in contributing to the body of data the researcher is accruing to address the research question.
  5. When the researcher is reasonably sure that he has the data he needs and has organized it in an orderly manner, he will DOCUMENT his findings, carefully noting the source of the data by correctly formatted citations. The written output should provide the answer to the research question.

Note that the process is termed a “cycle” because there are many places at which the researcher may decide that he must re-trace his steps. For example, if he determines that he has insufficient data, he might choose to go back to the IDENTIFY and LOCATE steps. Further, if a researcher determines that his research question has already been answered, then he will need to find another facet of the topic, or an alternate explanation if his data does not agree with the existing theory.

REFERENCES

“Beginning Research”. 2012. University of Melbourne Library URL: http://unimelb.libguides.com/begin_research . (accessed 19 January 2012)

“Definitions of Research and Development: An Annotated Compilation of Official Sources” http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/randdef/fedgov.cfm (accessed Jan 19, 2011).

Leedy, Paul D. and Jeanne Ellis Ormond. 2005. Practical Research: Planning and Design. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Student Responses should be between 200-250 for each response

Student #1 Jason

When I was in high school, and early years of college from my prior degree, I always had issues researching the right material for my papers. I was capable of meeting the word length requirement. However, the structure and content of my papers were not ordered academically; sometimes, even I was getting confused when I read my paper. Additionally, when going through my military Advanced occupation specialty school in the intelligence field, I have apprehended the significance of effective writing and have improved to a limit where I perceive comfortable writing essays and assignments. I realize this course must be taken in the early part of my major, which is why I am happy to complete this course before going to the next ones. I believe taking this course earlier on in my studies could help me much more in the coming future.

I took a prior class COMM110, which utterly familiarized me to conduct in-depth and valuable research when looking for a topic. Before taking that course, I never had a predetermined plan when trying to conduct research. I always referred to Google instead of looking at credible library sources, which resulted in some issues because they were not trustworthy enough to meet the requirements. After taking COMM110, I realized that it is essential to use peer-reviewed source material, official reports, and credible journals. The professor did a fantastic job guiding me along the way; she recommended numerous databases and libraries sources for proper research.

After completing that course, I do have a strong foundation upon which to build. One destruction of my strategy is that I sometimes hesitate since I am deployed and usually complete my course work after work. As being deployed

in combat zone take the time and focus away, but I already feel great about this class, and can not wait to experience it for myself. I consider it an honor to study alongside a team who is equally committed to pushing the limits of achieving meaningful collaboration online, and I look forward to seeing where this adventure takes all of us.

Student #2 Benny

After reading the required article, I find that there are major differences in how I conduct research when I was in high school, and early years of college. The week one reading defined research as the “systematic process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting information” to increase our understanding of the topic in which we are concerned (Leedy & Ormond 2005, 2). I clearly did not understand the importance of research and did not have a smooth transition from high school to college. Even though I was able to meet the required word count, my work was not organized and I could not understand why my papers were graded the way they were. During ENGL 102, I realized the importance of research in that; the ability in finding appropriate source materials, analyze them and draw the correct conclusions is vital in effective writing. Research has become an importance aspect of writing because it provides me with opinions about the topic with the ability in using sources to support my claim.

Even though my writing has improved, I am surprise to read that I have not used all of the required elements, because research is not one-dimensional. I have a tendency to jump into gathering information without carefully mapping out questions, which shows that I have not follow the research cycle. In the past I tend to use more of the internet instead of utilizing information from the school database, but with my college work I have to use peer-reviewed sources which provide valid claims during research.

I think this is a course that should be taken earlier during degree programs, because it will provide a baseline when it comes to research. Even though my work keeps me busy I have a clearer picture of why research is important, and a plan must be in place to effectively find the answer. Gathering my information over a period of time is required in showing organization, relevance and clarity when writing. I was not sure about taking this course, but looking forward learning so I can get better at researching which in turn will help me to produce better research papers.

Reference

Leedy, P. D., & Ormond, J. E. (2005). Practical Research: Planning and Design. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

 

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