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Week 6 Reading: ‘Exploring Research’

Salkind, Neil D. Exploring Research, p. 49-51. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall: 2000.

This text looks at the two main elements of research:
• selecting a problem (i.e. one you are genuinely interested in)
• defining your interests (i.e. don’t disregard your experiences)

Salkind raises several points, one of which is the reason students choose to enter the research field – to add to their discipline, to examine their own interests or to broaden career perspectives. But the crux of the text appears to focus on the need to choose a research topic which is of interest to the researcher, as this will ensure a smooth process as the project unfolds.

Other points to consider:

– the first idea you have isn’t necessarily that great.
– don’t be too ambitious (e.g. asking every single person in a state for an opinion on a topic).
– don’t do something that’s already been done, as this will only waste your time.
– personal experience/firsthand knowledge may be the beginnings of a research project.
– use ideas from your mentor/thesis advisor, to make sure you remain relevant (also increases access to info from the field).
– see if you can look at what’s next (i.e. variations of this question have been answered, but what’s the next step?)

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