Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Importance of Research

An idea is always supplemented with facts. And here is the know-how on the primary ideas on "how important" is research...

Study Implications
The purpose of research is to inform action.  Thus, your study should seek to contextualize its findings within the larger body of  research.  Research must always be high quality in order to produce knowledge that is applicable outside of the research setting with implications that go beyond the group that has participated in the research. Furthermore, the results of your study should have implications for policy and project implementation.

Goals of Research
There are relatively few published studies about eye care in developing countries, and Unite For Sight encourages all volunteers to consider developing a research study to contribute important knowledge to the eye care community on a global scale. Pursuing a research project will be a challenging and rewarding experience, and this opportunity enables you to pursue an in-depth original study about a topic of interest.
Well-conducted research is vital to the success of global heath endeavors.  Not only does research form the foundation of program development and policies all over the world, but it can also be translated into effective global health programs.  Research draws its power from the fact that it is empirical: rather than merely theorizing about what might be effective or what could work, researchers go out into the field and design studies that give policymakers hard data on which they can base their decisions.  Furthermore, good research produces results that are examinable by peers, methodologies that can be replicated, and knowledge that can be applied to real-world situations.  Researchers work as a team to enhance our knowledge of how to best address the world’s problems.   

Selecting and Limiting Your Topic

Effective writing depends on the writer’s ability to limit the scope of a subject. We are never able to write everything that could be said about a topic; most writing assignments include specified length limits. College writing in all disciplines requires students to decide what is really important about a subject.  Writing situations after graduation impose similar limits.  Business reports, scientific articles, research grants, and dissertations have limits, and readers have limits; they have limited time and massive amounts of information to absorb. Our task is to provide important information in the space we are given. 


Limiting your subject begins with answering certain questions:

What subjects interest you as a writer?
What do you think will interest your readers?
What information can you find regarding your subject?

Your Interests as a Writer
Which aspects of your subject are most interesting to you?  Often, we write with more enthusiasm when we feel strongly about a topic.  View your topic from a variety of perspectives and find the angle that interests you most.  Readers respond positively to sincere interest conveyed in words. 

Your Reader’s Knowledge of the Subject
Knowing your audience can help you develop a clear sense of purpose and direction. What do you want to tell them? What do you want to share with them that they may not know?  Will you need to supply background knowledge for the audience or do you share a common knowledge base?  Answering these questions defines the focus of your writing 

Information on Your Subject
Most writing requires the use of accurate information from reliable sources.  Although we begin with our own experiences and understanding, development of the topic depends on research.  Locate information.  Are there journal articles on the topic?  Are there online resources?  Are the sources credible? Will your reader accept information from those sources?  Select a topic for which there is ample information.  Consult your instructor or research librarian to refine your search skills.

Making an Outline
An outline can have main topics, subtopics, and details. Every outline should have a title.

  • Main topics tell the main ideas. A main topic is set off by a Roman numeral followed by a period.
  • Subtopics give supporting facts. A subtopic is set off by a capital letter followed by a period.
  • Details give specific facts about the subtopics. They are placed after numbers give more information about a subtopic. A detail is set off by a number followed by a period. More precise details may follow.

Primary Sources

                        A primary source provides direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art. Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects. Interviews, surveys, fieldwork, and Internet communications via email, blogs, listservs, and newsgroups are also primary sources. In the natural and social sciences, primary sources are often empirical studies—research where an experiment was performed or a direct observation was made. The results of empirical studies are typically found in scholarly articles or papers delivered at conferences.

Secondary Sources
Secondary sources describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize, and process primary sources. Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that discuss or evaluate someone else's original research.

1.5.1    Write your first draft as rapidly as you can.

In writing the first draft of your essay, try to get as many ideas down on paper as quickly as you can.  Don't worry about spelling or punctuation at all at this stage, just ideas.  If you change your mind about how to say something, don't stop to cross it out, just write an improved version.  You may have a lot of repetition in your first draft.  That's fine.  

1.5.2    When writing your first draft, don't worry about your introduction. 

One of the reasons why many of us have trouble writing a first draft is that we try to write the essay beginning with the introduction.  This is a difficult, and sometimes an impossible, task.  How can you introduce an essay you haven't written yet?  Until you see what the body of your essay will say, it is almost impossible to write an effective introduction.  You can easily fall into the trap of writing dozens of introductions, rejecting them all, and starting over each time.  It's fairly obvious that this is a non-productive waste of time.  Save the introduction for your second draft.  Start right out with your trial thesis statement and support it.  Start writing with the second or third paragraph of the essay and go on from there.  You will make much more progress writing the body of your essay than trying to guess at what will make a good introduction.

1.5.3    When writing your first draft, bracket those sections you can't write yet and try to finish a draft of the whole essay.

When you are writing your first draft you will probably find that you don't have all of the material you need for a finished essay.  For example, you may know that you need examples of several of your points.  If you have them, fine.  If you're stumped, just put a note in brackets: "[need example of classroom exercise for team building]."  Then move on to the next point.  Likewise with evidence that you haven't found yet.  Put a note in brackets to remind yourself what you need, but don't stop to look for it as you write your draft.  It is important that you make notes to yourself as to what you need to find and develop before you have a finished essay.  Doing so will save you a great deal of time because you will have a "shopping list" to bring to class or to the library that will help define what you need to finish the essay.  This will make your further research much easier.  But it is equally important that you try to get down on paper what you want the whole essay to say.  This is the only way to test and develop your trial thesis statement.  The whole should determine the parts, not the parts the whole.  You may find that your thesis needs major revision and that you really want to take a different approach than you had originally planned.  That will help to clarify what details are important enough to pursue and what can be omitted.

1.5.4    Rewrite your thesis statement whenever you can make it a better guide for writing and revising your essay.

Remember that your trial thesis statement is a guide or a yardstick to help you see where your essay is going.  It is a mirror that you can hold up to your essay to show what you are really saying.  It is not an external standard that somebody is imposing on you; it is your decision about what you want to say.  But one of the greatest dangers in trying to write an essay is that you change your mind without realizing it, that you lose track of what you started to say and end up saying something else, without being aware of it.  That is why your thesis statement is so important.  It's fine, it's usually good, when you decide to change direction or emphasis  if you know what you're changing and how.  But if you don't notice, it almost always leads to problems, as when your essay starts out promising one thing and ends by delivering something else.  So keep comparing your thesis with your essay.  When you have finished your first draft, re-read your thesis statement and ask if that is still what you are saying.  If it isn't, revise the thesis.  It is not unusual to rewrite your thesis statement a dozen times in the course of revising your essay.

1.5.5    Write your first draft in the way that is easiest and most comfortable for you.

If you are an experienced typist, you will probably type your first draft.  But if it is easier for you to write in longhand, do that.  In writing your first draft, you want to write as quickly and easily as you can, concentrating just on the words but not on the way of producing the words.  So go with whatever comes easiest.  You will be revising this work.  Many writers find that after writing a draft on longhand the process of entering it into the word processor gives them a chance to easily revise and correct the errors in the original.  Do whatever you're most comfortable with.  Do not try to make the first draft the final draft.  Assume you will revise, and you can be much more loose and free in writing your first draft, and you can do it much more quickly.


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