Research: What and Why? Research: What and Why?

Presentation at University of Madras Presentation at University of Madras
on July 18, 2011 on July 18, 2011
Anam Anam K. K. Govardhan Govardhan
ProIessor oI English ProIessor oI English
Western CT State University, Danbury, CT Western CT State University, Danbury, CT
06810, USA 06810, USA
What Does Research Ìnvolve? What Does Research Ìnvolve?
Ìnvolves painstaking investigation and Ìnvolves painstaking investigation and
discovery of facts. discovery of facts.
Why Ìs Research Ìmportant? Why Ìs Research Ìmportant?
- - Ìs a vital part of every occupation. Ìs a vital part of every occupation.
- - Ìs used to gather information, and make Ìs used to gather information, and make
informed judgments, and informed judgments, and
- - Ìs a skill and easy to perform. Ìs a skill and easy to perform.
What Ìs Research in Literature and What Ìs Research in Literature and
What Do Professors Expect? What Do Professors Expect?
Research Research is what one is good at and what is what one is good at and what
one knows best. one knows best.
Professors generally provide the topic and Professors generally provide the topic and
leave the focus to the researcher. leave the focus to the researcher.
e.g., John e.g., John Donne DonneThe The Philosophical Roots Philosophical Roots
of John Donne's Poems of John Donne's Poems
What Are the Sources for What Are the Sources for
Research Research? ?
Library (journals, periodicals, magazines, Library (journals, periodicals, magazines,
catalogs, etc., catalogs, etc.,
Ìnternet search engines Ìnternet search engines
Print Print materials materials
Experiments or observational studies, e.g. Experiments or observational studies, e.g.
case case studies studies
Where Does One Start? Where Does One Start?
Web Web
Writing Writing e e- -mails to experts in one's field mails to experts in one's field
Exploring print media to find out what Exploring print media to find out what
people think about the topic people think about the topic
Discussing the topic with colleagues in Discussing the topic with colleagues in
your field your field
riteria for Writing Research riteria for Writing Research
Reports Reports
Recognize audience Recognize audience
hoose an effective style hoose an effective style
Use formatting techniques Use formatting techniques
Audience for Research Reports Audience for Research Reports
Are knowledgeable Are knowledgeable
an understand an understand a technical term or a technical term or
concept better concept better
an be individuals (professors, peers, or an be individuals (professors, peers, or
lay) lay)
Effective Style Appropriate for Effective Style Appropriate for
Research Reports Research Reports
Formal Formal
ompiling ompiling, organizing, and presenting , organizing, and presenting
information with documentation information with documentation
Tone Tone not too friendly and not too distant not too friendly and not too distant
More More objective objective than than subjective subjective
Formatting Techniques for Research Formatting Techniques for Research
Reports Reports
Highlighting Highlighting
Bullets Bullets
Numbers Numbers
Headings Headings
Subheadings Subheadings
Graphics (tables and figures) Graphics (tables and figures)
Abc Abc format format
Parenthetical citation Parenthetical citation
Works cited Works cited
Ìnternal organization Ìnternal organization
'arieties of Research 'arieties of Research
Traditional Research based on library Traditional Research based on library
research with the following format: research with the following format:
Title Title Page Page
Outline Outline
Abstract Abstract
The The Body Body: intro, body, and conclusion : intro, body, and conclusion
ontent Notes (Optional) ontent Notes (Optional)
Appendices Appendices
Works ited Works ited
Experimental Research Experimental Research
BBased ased on controlled experiments with clearly defined on controlled experiments with clearly defined
variables or influencing factors, and specific methodologies variables or influencing factors, and specific methodologies
that can be replicated with the following format: that can be replicated with the following format:
Abstract Abstract
Statement of the problem Statement of the problem
Review of literature Review of literature
Development of hypothesis Development of hypothesis
Methods/procedures used Methods/procedures used
Results Results
Discussion Discussion
onclusion onclusion
References References
Getting Started Getting Started
Discovering Discovering Your Topic and Starting to Your Topic and Starting to Search: Search:
A. A. Explore possible topics first Explore possible topics first
What do you already know about the topic? What do you already know about the topic?
Ìdentify a Ìdentify a significant significant ttopic opic: involves investigating : involves investigating
some problem, its importance, its impact, and how some problem, its importance, its impact, and how
to resolve, reverse, or contain it. to resolve, reverse, or contain it.
Limit the Limit the scope scope of your topic: focus on that aspect of your topic: focus on that aspect
that has immediate relevance to you and your that has immediate relevance to you and your
colleagues. colleagues.
Ìdentify the location of materials of your research: all Ìdentify the location of materials of your research: all
kinds of sources kinds of sources
Know how to use the sources you find Know how to use the sources you find
Familiarize with the research materials and their Familiarize with the research materials and their
organization organization
B. Recognize B. Recognize the expectations of the discipline the expectations of the discipline
Appropriateness of the topic in the discipline Appropriateness of the topic in the discipline
Specificity of the type of research: literary analysis, Specificity of the type of research: literary analysis,
field study, or an experiment field study, or an experiment
Appropriate journals in the field Appropriate journals in the field
Relevant databases Relevant databases
Websites Websites
Know Know how to evaluate sources: be prepared to ask the how to evaluate sources: be prepared to ask the
right kinds of questions right kinds of questions
What impact does it have upon other topics? What impact does it have upon other topics?
What are some different opinions that people have What are some different opinions that people have
about this topic? about this topic?
Document the borrowed information Document the borrowed information
. Explore . Explore the topic in several ways the topic in several ways
Library Library
Stacks Stacks
Reference desk Reference desk
Reference section Reference section
Microfilm Microfilm
Ìnterlibrary loan Ìnterlibrary loan
Archives Archives
D. reate D. reate a research journal or log a research journal or log
Table with date Table with date to record activity to record activity, results, , results,
and notes and notes (to do) (to do)
E. After E. After initial reading, you should ask yourself initial reading, you should ask yourself the the
following: following:
What possibilities have Ì discovered? What possibilities have Ì discovered?
What limitations in sources have Ì discovered? What limitations in sources have Ì discovered?
What standard library sources should Ì consult? What standard library sources should Ì consult?
What online library sources should Ì consult? What online library sources should Ì consult?
What aspects of my possible topics are really What aspects of my possible topics are really
intriguing? intriguing?
What do Ì know about my possible topic? What do Ì know about my possible topic?
What do Ì need to find out? What do Ì need to find out?
Preliminary Work Preliminary Work
Develop extensive list oI research questions
about your topic
DraIt an initial plan Ior how you will conduct
research
Develop a possible thesis statement Ior your
research
Start conducting research
Developing Research Question Developing Research Question
Topic Topic: : John Donne John Donne
Broad Broad Question: The Philosophical Roots Question: The Philosophical Roots
of John Donne's Poems of John Donne's Poems
Sub Sub- -questions: questions:
What has influenced John Donne? What has influenced John Donne?
How John Donne's early poems show his How John Donne's early poems show his
development as a metaphysical poet? development as a metaphysical poet?
Possible Research Plan Possible Research Plan
Search Search wherever you can to learn about wherever you can to learn about John John
Donne and his philosophy Donne and his philosophy
Read Read relevant materials in journals relevant materials in journals about his about his
contemporary period contemporary period
Find Find out whether anyone else during his out whether anyone else during his
period share his philosophy period share his philosophy
ontact a reference librarian to help you in ontact a reference librarian to help you in
your research your research
Ìnterview faculty, administrators, and Ìnterview faculty, administrators, and
students involved in the subject students involved in the subject area area
Prewriting Techniques Prewriting Techniques
Narrow down the topic Narrow down the topic
Spot check sources for information Spot check sources for information
Ìsolate main points Ìsolate main points
Write a statement of purpose Write a statement of purpose
reate an outline reate an outline
Guidelines for hoosing a Topic for Guidelines for hoosing a Topic for
Research Paper Research Paper
Narrow the scope Narrow the scope
Avoid trivial topics Avoid trivial topics
Avoid personal opinion Avoid personal opinion
Ìmportance of Purpose Ìmportance of Purpose
A Research Paper should answer a question that A Research Paper should answer a question that
has not been adequately answered in the has not been adequately answered in the past; past;
some examples of general topics are the some examples of general topics are the
following: following:
The effects of Green House gases on our The effects of Green House gases on our
sources of oxygen. sources of oxygen.
The influence of sport heroes on a nation's The influence of sport heroes on a nation's
youth. youth.
The sources of bird flu The sources of bird flu
- - The mystery of the building of the The mystery of the building of the
pyramids. pyramids.
- - Ìs there water on Mars? Ìs there water on Mars?
- - The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle
- - Do dreams mean anything? Do dreams mean anything?
- - How reliable is astrology? How reliable is astrology?
- - The effects of atom bombs on Nagasaki The effects of atom bombs on Nagasaki
and Hiroshima and Hiroshima
What Ìs the Place of Argument in a What Ìs the Place of Argument in a
Research Paper? Research Paper?
- - Argument is the logical purpose of a Argument is the logical purpose of a
research paper research paper
Research Materials Available in a Research Materials Available in a
Library Library
- - Primary (eye witness accounts, letters, Primary (eye witness accounts, letters,
diaries, speeches, literary works, and diaries, speeches, literary works, and
autobiographies, transcript of a trial, poem, autobiographies, transcript of a trial, poem,
etc.,) etc.,)
- - Secondary (reporter's interpretation of a Secondary (reporter's interpretation of a
event, literary critics' assessment of a event, literary critics' assessment of a
poem, etc.,) poem, etc.,)
Developing a Preliminary Thesis Developing a Preliminary Thesis
Statement Statement
Make Make sure that your thesis statement is sure that your thesis statement is
not too broad not too broad
Research Plan in Research Plan in
Humanities Humanities
Preliminary Preliminary thesis statement thesis statement
Purpose for conducting the research or Purpose for conducting the research or
preliminary research question preliminary research question
Possible sources of information that you Possible sources of information that you
can can use use
Research Plan in Sciences Research Plan in Sciences
Preliminary research question or Preliminary research question or
hypothesis hypothesis
Possible sources of previous research that Possible sources of previous research that
you can use you can use
Proposed research methodology Proposed research methodology
Where Does One Get Secondary Where Does One Get Secondary
Materials Materials
Search Search engines engines
- - Ìnternet Explorer Ìnternet Explorer
- - Google Google
- - Yahoo Yahoo
Databases Databases
- - MLA MLA
- - Jstor Jstor
- - ERÌ ERÌ
Resources in the Library Resources in the Library
The omputer and the The omputer and the Databases Databases
The Ìnternet The Ìnternet
The ard atalog The ard atalog
The Stacks The Stacks
The Reference Room The Reference Room
What Are the General Works What Are the General Works
Available in the Library? Available in the Library?
- - Encyclopedias Encyclopedias
- - Biographies Biographies
- - Handbooks and Manuals Handbooks and Manuals
- - Atlases and Gazeteers Atlases and Gazeteers
- - Almanacs and Yearbooks Almanacs and Yearbooks
How to ollect Pertinent How to ollect Pertinent
Ìnformation? Ìnformation?
ompile a Bibliography ompile a Bibliography
Evaluate the Evidence Evaluate the Evidence
Take Notes Take Notes
Types of Bibliography Types of Bibliography
A. The A. The Annotated Bibliography Annotated Bibliography
- - A A collection of bibliographic entries and collection of bibliographic entries and
their summaries (or a précis for each their summaries (or a précis for each
entry) arranged entry) arranged alphabetically. alphabetically.
B. The B. The ritical or Evaluative Bibliography ritical or Evaluative Bibliography
- - ÌÌs an s an annotated bibliography with a twist; annotated bibliography with a twist;
in it, you may use your judgment of the in it, you may use your judgment of the
source source..
Evaluation of Sources Evaluation of Sources
A. Evaluate A. Evaluate sources on a website and in a sources on a website and in a
library database, using the following library database, using the following
evaluation consideration: evaluation consideration:
ontent ontent
urrency urrency
Source of publication Source of publication
overage overage
Relevance Relevance
B. reate B. reate a précis, an annotated a précis, an annotated
bibliography and an evaluative or critical bibliography and an evaluative or critical
bibliography bibliography
The Précis The Précis
A A brief summary of the work that is being brief summary of the work that is being
cited cited
Does not contain more than three or four Does not contain more than three or four
sentences sentences
Ìs a synopsis of the work that you are Ìs a synopsis of the work that you are
citing so that the reader knows exactly citing so that the reader knows exactly
what its content is? what its content is?
Organizing Ìnformation Organizing Ìnformation
Organize and annotate your bookmarks Organize and annotate your bookmarks
Set up an electronic workspace Set up an electronic workspace
reate research folders for your files reate research folders for your files
reate electronic note cards reate electronic note cards
Organize your computer files as you write Organize your computer files as you write
Organize your notes before you begin to Organize your notes before you begin to
write the first draft write the first draft
At Work (Writing) At Work (Writing)
Pace your writing so that you can write what you can Pace your writing so that you can write what you can
to avoid "writer's block¨ to avoid "writer's block¨
Focus on your thesis that is clear and manageable Focus on your thesis that is clear and manageable
reate a sentence outline to be on the target reate a sentence outline to be on the target
Base your conclusions on the evidence presented Base your conclusions on the evidence presented
Address your topic in an objective and even Address your topic in an objective and even- -handed handed
manner manner
Recognize those who differ Recognize those who differ from from your your topic/ideas topic/ideas
Present evidence (tables/figures) clearly Present evidence (tables/figures) clearly
Ìnterpret the information presented to Ìnterpret the information presented to
make it understandable to the reader make it understandable to the reader
Make your conclusions Make your conclusions &#$ &#$ and not and not
the collected opinions of others the collected opinions of others
Write an introduction that prepares the Write an introduction that prepares the
readers for what follows readers for what follows
How to Avoid Plagiarism? How to Avoid Plagiarism?
Document Document Sources Sources
Style Guides Style Guides
Follow the style guide appropriate to your Follow the style guide appropriate to your
discipline: discipline:
The Modern Language Association (MLA) The Modern Language Association (MLA)
The American Psychological Association (APA) The American Psychological Association (APA)
The olumbia Guide to Online Style (OS) The olumbia Guide to Online Style (OS)
The ouncil of Science Educators (BE/SE) The ouncil of Science Educators (BE/SE)
The hicago Manual of Style (MS) The hicago Manual of Style (MS)
Note Note- -Taking Taking
Prepare Bibliography Notes Prepare Bibliography Notes
Write down direct quotation Write down direct quotation
Paraphrase the quote Paraphrase the quote
Summarize the information Summarize the information
How Should We Formulate a Thesis How Should We Formulate a Thesis
Statement for a Research Paper? Statement for a Research Paper?
- - oming oming up with a one up with a one- -sentence summary sentence summary
of the main idea and the author's view of the main idea and the author's view
point point
Working Outline Working Outline
Thesis Statement Thesis Statement
1. 1. ontrolling idea one ontrolling idea one
two secondary sources two secondary sources
2. 2. ontrolling idea two ontrolling idea two
two secondary sources two secondary sources
2. 2. ontrolling idea three ontrolling idea three
two secondary sources two secondary sources
Ìntroduction Ìntroduction
Begin Begin with something to arouse reader's with something to arouse reader's
interest by asking a series of questions, an interest by asking a series of questions, an
anecdote, a quote, or data pertinent to the anecdote, a quote, or data pertinent to the
topic topic
Discussion Discussion
Organize paragraphs to focus on one main Organize paragraphs to focus on one main
point point
Provide supporting details Provide supporting details
Use secondary sources as needed Use secondary sources as needed
Acknowledge sources Acknowledge sources
onclusion/Recommendations onclusion/Recommendations
Summarize findings Summarize findings
Draw conclusion about the significance of Draw conclusion about the significance of
discoveries discoveries
Recommend future course of action Recommend future course of action
iting Sources iting Sources
Document sources correctly Document sources correctly
Avoid plagiarizing Avoid plagiarizing
Follow the discipline's format Follow the discipline's format
Rewriting Rewriting
Add new details for clarity Add new details for clarity
Delete dead words and phrases that do Delete dead words and phrases that do
not support main ideas not support main ideas
Simplify words for easy understanding Simplify words for easy understanding
Move information to produce better Move information to produce better
organization organization
Reformat text to make it user Reformat text to make it user- -friendly friendly
orrect errors, if any orrect errors, if any

,9408#080,7.3;4;0 
3;4;085,389,33;089,943,3/ /8.4;07411,.98

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful