Proposal: Reading research basics

Proposal: Reading research basics

A few weeks back you were presented with materials regarding the Introduction and Literature Review for your proposal.  The materials here build on those explanations.  Here you will learn about the appropriate type of source/reference/publication to be used in the Introduction and Literature Review.  These sources/publications are called scholarly research articles.  Scholarly research articles vary from other types of publications by being more formal (serious); usually written by experts in the field or professors for exports in the field; and have the following sectons/elements: 1) introduction/background, 2) literature review, 3) hypotheses, 4) desing/methods, 5) findings/results, 6) conclusion/discussion/limitations, and 7) references. 

Here you are provided with 2 articles for you to compare, one is an online publcation written for a general audience (Eharmony) and the other is a scholarly research article published in a scholarly journal.  Note the following:

1) how different these articles are from one another although they are both on the topic of love/dating and both are written by people with Ph.Ds.   

2) in the Harmony article the author presents his views and advice about dating in a chatty manner. However, in the  Meston et al article they formally present the research topic/question, why this is an important topic,  what other researchers have found on this topic,  how the data was collected to answer the question, what the analysis showed in response to the questions, the expert discussion of what was found.  The scholarly article formally presents not only a discussion on a topic but a detailed description of the process used to collect the information that is being presented.  Since the purpose of research is to enhance our understanding of a topic, the details provided in the scholarly research paper allow for other researchers to “check” on how good the research that is making certain claims was, and it also allows for a different researcher to follow the same definition, steps/procedures to see if they also find similar findings.  

Just in case you have not yet noticed:  By the time you finish next semester YOU will have written a scholarly research paper.  This semester you will write the introduction/literature review, hypotheses, design/methods, and reference sections; and in Spring you will write the findings/results, conclusion and limitations sections. Therefore, it makes sense for you to understand the “purpose” of each section in the scholarly research paper.  Think about the purpose of each of the sections when you read the Meston et al article.

 The Process of ResearchTop of FormBottom of Form

Chapter 2

Human tendencies to look out for when conducting research.

In social science research you will usually have humans studying other humans or social matters.  Since researchers are human it means that there is always the risk of them introducing bias (prejudice in favor or against) in the process of collecting the data, or the way they interpret and reach conclusions using the data. Researcher bias is to be avoided as much as possible if we truly want to find out about the topic being studied. In addition to the researcher striving to avoid bias or influences mentioned in your text, they must also be aware of the following  errors in personal inquiry that will impact the data they collect and the conclusions they will reach.

Proposal Introduction/Literature Search Basics

The first main section of your proposal and research paper will be the Introduction.   In the Introduction you discuss the following areas:

1.  topic of your research (inform the reader what this proposal study is about) 

In the first paragraph of the Introduction you could add a sentence such as:  “The topic of this study is…”

2.  explain why is this topic important to research (inform the reader why this topic is worthy of study, what are possible benefits)

Following that statement on what you are researching, you should provide an explanation on why this research should be done according to you.  Perhaps a sentence that starts: “This study is important because…”

3.  what have other researchers already found when they studied this same topic (this is called the literature review)?

A summary and discussion of studies that have already be done on your topic needs to be provided so the reader of your proposal/paper gets some basic information on your topic before you present what your proposed analysis and findings are.  (This semester you will be PROPOSING to conduct analysis on a topic of your choice and next semester you willl be DOING the analysis you proposed on this topic).

The PowerPoint in this section introduces you to the process of doing the library research and writing about other studies already done on your topic (literature review).  Note that you still have to select your topic and that you will be asked to seek 5 research articles on your topic BEFORE you write the literature review section.  The topic selection and 5 library article search will be happening in the coming weeks.  This PowerPoint is just to begin to give you the basic understanding of the literature review.

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