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Methods of Research

Wikipedia (not a scholarly source) defines research as “the systematic investigation into existing or new knowledge. It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories”

I’m sure everyone is either deep in the research process, or have already found what they have been looking for to make writing their final paper a bit easier. I know that my project has been specifically hard to do research for. It seems that the question we are asking has simply never been asked before. But I have also heard opposite complaints, that some people have found an excess of information, and have to rethink their thesis to be more specific. So I ask, where do you stand? Are you finding/have you found the research process to be hard? Easy? Have you found too much? Too little? Is there anyone out there who found something perfect on the first try?

Research can also take many forms. For one of my classes, I frequented the National Archives to do my research, and rarely used the internet. For this class, on the other hand, I am using mostly the internet. I have gone to Gelman once to get a book that seemed interesting, and was surprised to see that we actually have a nice section of books on Science Communication. How has everyone else been doing their research? Am I the only one who went to Gelman? Or is it the other way round? And has anyone done anything else?

Well, time to go do some more research. I hope the little comic there cheered some of you up! Good Luck!

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 19, 2012 at 5:33 am

    Shockingly, I have not found the research aspect of this project to be difficult at all. This may have a lot to do with the prevalence of the subject my project is on. There is definitely a lot of material about gender differences, and surprising there is abundant information on the feminization of medicine. The research process for me was really just as simple as going to Gelman’s page of databases, choosing a database that sounded good, and searching for relevant articles in that database. I usually found something relevant, it normally just came down to how easy it was to obtain a copy of the article or book. In general, the more specific the topic, the harder it is to research. I bet that the other groups did not have as easy or quick researching period as did I… there is definitely more in the literature on feminization than the science of visual exhibits. All in all, I have learned a great deal about researching as well as how to do it within GWU. I can’t say that I spent hours in the stacks, but I think I effectively found what I needed by using the resources given.

  2. avtheo
    April 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    What I have learned in the research process, in general, is that quality is better than quantity. Finding a ton or sources and putting them into your paper does not always mean that your essay will be a good one. I have been always told to never over quote, so what I try to do is find the best few sources with the most interesting and compelling quotes.

    For my groups final project, we have actually been having difficulty finding scholarly sources, which are the most important for this paper. I find qualifying a source as being scholarly is the most difficult part because depending on the context it can go either way. We have been mainly using the online data bases through Gelman’s website to find our exhibit sources and such. I honestly thinking the internet availability is easier than going to Gelman and research and asking the librarians because you have everything right at your finger tips.

  3. April 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I also agree that finding research for my research paper is also very difficult! The subject we haven chosen is very interesting, but there is not enough information dealing with our particular subject, only information briefly mentioning or barely touching upon it. However, I have also visited Gelman library while in pursuit for Science Communications books and have found a great variety! The books coupled with JStore and EBSCO have greatly helped me with my research, but I realized the key to attaining relevant information is switching up the tag or key words. My group and I have assigned certain phrases to look up and each person is bringing in a new source to our weekly meeting and we will then each review everyone’s individual sources and see if they are applicable to our research paper. For example, instead of using the word ‘category’ we type in ‘classification’ or ‘taxonomy’. The results are not always the same, and that one word change oftentimes produces an article that would not have been found under the word ‘category’ and inevitably helps us with our project. Give it a try, it was very helpful for my group!

  4. April 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Hi guys… glad to see a post and a thread about research happening! It seems from the three posts above that you are getting the hang of what works for this project, and that what works for this project may not work for another project. Thinking about how the information is going to be published will always help. What will be in a book versus what will be in an article; and then, where that article will most likely be published… that’s how it’s done.I like how thetwinsopinion noted that switching up keywords has helped a lot. Mostly, research is about thinking, right? And keeping track of how you’re thinking and “where” you are doing that thinking. I’m glad that everything is right there at your fingertips, but don’t hesitate to ask a librarian if the need arises.

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