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Before you start, know what research is!



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Wm. F. Taflinger, PhD. of Washington State University wrote the following:
"Information, ideas and opinions surround us, most of which we never question. In fact, we have to ignore most of them or suffer from brain burnout. However, when we do pay attention we usually accept it as it comes in from whatever source. For example, do you ever wonder if you're getting the whole story from TV news shows or newspapers? Do you wonder what's been left out, if anything? Or why? However, if we wish to understand something, not just accept someone else's word for it but actually understand it, and in turn pass on our understanding to someone else, we must question opinion and assumption and theory and speculation. The purpose of the questions is to gather evidence.

WHAT IS RESEARCH?

"Research is finding out what you don't already know. No one knows everything, but everybody knows something. However, to complicate matters, often what you know, or think you know, is incorrect.
There are two basic purposes for research: (1) to learn something, or (2) to gather evidence. The first, to learn something, is for your own benefit. It is almost impossible for a human to stop learning. It may be the theory of relativity or the RBIs of your favorite White Sox baseball player, but you continue to learn.

"Research is organized learning, looking for specific things to add to your store of knowledge. You may read SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN for the latest research in quantum mechanics, or the sports section for last night's game results. Either is research.

"What you've learned is the source of the background information you use to communicate with others. In any conversation you talk about the things you know, the things you've learned. If you know nothing about the subject under discussion, you can neither contribute nor understand it. (This fact does not, however, stop many people from joining in on conversations, anyway.) When you write or speak formally, you share what you've learned with others, backed with evidence to show that what you've learned is correct. If, however, you haven't learned more than your audience already knows, there is nothing for you to share. Thus you do research."


‚ÄčThe rest of this section is dedicated to helping Foreman's students complete the full research process with the best foundation for success.




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