The internet and the media are full of “researchers”. When engaged in discussions on the internet many participants will state that they have “researched” the topic in depth. What they want you to think is that they have actually researched the topic. Are you a researcher?
Research is a process.
- Select a topic that you are interested in. It takes commitment and a great deal of time to research a topic.
- Research the Problem. What do you already know? What are the major issues surrounding the problem? You will in all likelihood not identify all of the problems at first, that is an important part of the research process. They will become clear in time.
- Conduct Literature Research. This is where you educate yourself on the topic, finding everything that you possibly can. This will lead back to understanding the problem.
- State the Research Question. After weeks, months, even decades of literature research you will find that the original problem has changed. At this point, you can finally narrow down the problem and begin to craft a specific question.
- Determine Research Design. Use an experimental design; use a correlational design; conduct a qualitative study the design will guide further research.
- Determine Methods. Who are the participants going to be? What instruments will I need? What procedures need to be followed?
- Identify Analysis Procedures.
After you have completed all of these steps you are ready to publish your research. Depending on how your research paper is received you will probably find yourself right back at researching the problem.
The next time you find yourself saying, ” I have researched this topic” be prepared to present your research for critique.