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Research Methodology

Research Methodology

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Published by amantedelibros11

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: amantedelibros11 on Nov 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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How important is the figure of the 'imagined reader' for the writer of a research argument andwhat role do citations serve in a research thesis?
One of the principal defining points of research are undeniably in its social origins. It is quite rare tofind a thesis which has been written to exclusively serve the personal aims and interests of theresearcher. Researchers are aware of being engaged in a conversational project; an enterprise thatentails the exchange of dialogue which is directed to a community. The community maybe large,incorporating people with a fairly general or informal knowledge of the subject in question or mayinvolve only a select group of people or institutions whose interests are very specific. Definitely, theresearcher does not exist in a vacuum state- the researcher must keep in mind the interests and needs(of facts, information, analyzes, interpretations etc.) of a specific community. The project embarkedupon by a researcher is thus part of a constant ongoing process of inquiry, investigation andinterrogation that will ultimately contribute to a larger body of research and should ideally serve toenrich and expand the scope of the field of research in question. So, the researcher must be well-awareof the work done in his or her field of study – for the general readers he or she must be able to providea not unnecessarily detailed but concise summary of the erstwhile work done and then speak of his ownattempted advancements. For the group of academics there is no need to provide a historical survey of what has been already accomplished and demonstrated but rather, the imperative is to show in aconvincing fashion, by virtue of a sound and well -established argument, his points of departure fromthe accepted grain of thought and most importantly, what he has to offer in terms of a novel andoriginal contribution that will help future researchers and academics in their attempts to deal with other areas of inquiry. Thus, one of the principal functions served by the imaginary reader is the impetus placed on the researcher to think out of the box and thereby spurs him or her to come up with his or her unique approach in dealing with a problem which leads to the researched arriving upon a unique result.Keeping the figure of the 'imagined reader' in mind enables the researcher's work to be developed alongthe lines of an imaginary conversation. Thus the researcher is constantly alerted to the possible
refutations that may be raised by the reader arising from existing flaws and weaknesses in the former'sargument. There may also be points of concurrence shared by the 'imagined reader' and the researcher that will lead him or her to believe that he or she is on the right track towards developing a sound andfoolproof argument. In addition, this act of role play between the researcher and the 'imagined reader'also serves the purpose of tuning in the researcher to the the specificity of his readership. Thus he or she is driven towards formulating the argument and establishing his or her claim in such a manner thatwill inspire the readers interest should the reader not belong to the same field of research. If gearedtowards an academic audience well versed of the developments in the field, the researcher should beencouraged to craft his or her work with the awareness that the reader should be made to feel the needto learn something new and offered good reasons to know it. So it is important for the researcher todetermine what kind of readership he will be catering to- general readers who know little about thesubject, well informed general readers, or professionals. It is also important to keep in mind the natureof the set of expectations carried by the reader- do the readers expect to be entertained, to learn newfacts, to improve their understanding of the subject or attempt to gain new perspectives on the solutionof a particular problem with the help of the researcher's work? Considering the extent and depth of thereader's knowledge is another vital criterion for a researcher. So taking into account, for instance,whether the reader recognizes the problem as only that of the researcher or whether it is a shared problem becomes necessary. In the former case, the onus of proving the seriousness of the problem andconvincing its relevance to the reader rests on the researcher's abilities. The researcher must also reviewthe possible responses of the 'imagined reader' to his or her argument in establishing a claim and also tothe solution offered by the researcher to the problem. If the research argument goes against what thereaders already believe, he or she must be well prepared with good evidence to prove his or her stanceon the problem in question. Illustrating the gradual development of the argument leading to the professed conclusion may also be demanded by the 'imagined reader'.As mentioned before, any researcher must be aware of being part of a larger community, whether 
international, or national, and also conscious of his or her identity as a researcher being located withinthe corpus of that community's accumulated scholarship and learning. So the goals of the researcher cannot be entirely personal; his or her work is almost also inevitably oriented towards contributing newwork that enhances the community's understanding of a problem by enabling them to view it in a newlight thanks to his or her research. Thus the researcher also elevates the prestige of the community inthe national or larger global scenario by highlighting it as a center producing and promoting cutting-edge research. The researcher's indebtedness to the community can never be underestimated as researchcan never be a spontaneous act of inspired creation. It is crafted by the researcher's detailed reflectivestudy on the body of work that is current before embarking or his or her project. Research is a dynamic process with the researcher constantly being engaged with the work of scholars, critics and academics preceding him. If the researcher is successful in arriving upon a new solution to a particular problem itcan only be because the solution has been generated by the previous commentator's inquires ininvestigating the problem. He or she stands to refute a particular viewpoint by examining the pre-existing resources – so research is an ongoing historical process. Thus including citations in one'sresearch thesis is a must as it is a means of acknowledging one's resources is a methodical andsystematic manner. Citations will also enable later researcher's who use a piece of research as areference point to return to certain sources that may interest them as aids in their research work.Detailed citations enable the reader and researcher to locate sources accurately, especially if they are nolonger readily available or even out of circulation. By providing citations, the researcher maintains his part of the contract of participating in a project executed with honesty within the purview of establishedresearch ethics. Citations also establish the depth of a researcher's reading, demonstrating theseriousness with which he or she has undertaken the research project by consulting previously published or unpublished literature on the subject. Citations also allow the supervisor or project headto verify and cross check the authenticity of the sources employed by the researcher. So the researcher must pay particular attention to fully acknowledging his or her sources not only to affirm his or her 

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