Sunday, April 16, 2000

Research Project

Research Project – Part I: Choosing a Research Topic STEP 1: Choosing a research topic Before you start thinking of a topic for your research paper, watch this short video. Next, on your own or with your partner, brainstorm ideas: 1) Write down every idea that comes into your head. 2) Then delete any subjects which might be too broad, too narrow, uninteresting, etc. Be ruthless. 3) Group similar ideas together. See if you can’t combine two ideas to make one. 4) Again, delete any subjects which might be too broad, too narrow, uninteresting, etc. Be ruthless. 5) Repeat until you have a topic for your project which is interesting, creative, and not too broad to research. Send your topic to your teacher for approval before continuing. STEP 2: Formulating a research question Now that you have a topic, it’s time to think of a question that interests you and that you would like to find out more about. Watch these two goofy people give you tips on developing a research question. Now you're ready to develop your research question. When formulating your question, remember to ask yourself: 1) Can I discuss the question adequately in the space I have? 2) Will I have to leave something out? 3) Will I run out of things to say? Now separate your research question into two or three parts. These sub-questions will make up the body of your research paper. Note: Two questions does not necessarily mean less work. Research Project - Part II: Sources Once you have finalized your research questions, begin looking for sources of information. You are required to use at least six different resources. Types of sources: 1. Articles a. Journalistic b. Academic c. Professional 2. Interviews a. Single interviews with experts b. Multiple interviews with relevant populations 3. Crowd-Sourcing a. Questionnaires b. Social Media ARTICLES: Where to find them and how to choose them You can begin by entering your question into a search engine such as Google. You will be offered thousands (if not tens of thousands) of options. (Wikipedia is NOT a valid resource, but Wikipedia articles have citations at the bottom which may help you.) Criteria for choosing an article as a source of information:  Who wrote it? - If the article doesn't have an author, it is a suspicious resource. You will need to have a detailed bibliography, including the name of the person who wrote every article you use*. If you're very diligent, you should look up the writer to see his or her qualifications.  Can you read it? – If the level of writing or the vocabulary is too sophisticated for you, skip it. You will probably be able to find other good articles you can read with more ease.  Does it help you answer your question? – Sometimes an article is very interesting, but in the end not particularly relevant to your topic. If you have an article with only one relevant section, then feel free to use it.  Does it help you answer your question in an intelligent manner? – You may find an article which is fun to read, but doesn't provide 'quality' information.  Is it too long or too short? – Don't choose an article which is very short. By the time you summarize it, there won't be anything left. Don't choose an article which is so long you can't find the relevant information in it. Beyond Google is a search engine called Google Scholar (see link below). This is a search engine for academic books and articles. Warning: The language level and length of many of these article may be prohibitive (too long, too complicated, etc.). However, the information you find here will be much more sophisticated and comprehensive than the articles you will find via Google. Take a look and see what you come up with. (Note: You may go to Settings and choose English language articles before you begin.) Many of the article here are not for free. Read the side panels for options and see if you have free access to the article you want to read. INTERVIEWS Interviewing an Expert You may choose to find an expert on your subject to interview. It is best if conduct the interview in person, but you may also use a video service like Skype or FaceTime, conduct a telephone interview, or even interview in an online chat. You should record the interview if possible so you can return to it as you write. Make sure you can cite the qualifications of your expert! This means title, position, education, accomplishments, etc. An "expert" can also be a case study, in which you interview and/or follow someone who has experienced the phenomenon you are researching. Conducting Multiple Interviews with Relevant Populations Another good source is a series of short interviews with a number of people who are involved with your subject. This will allow you to compare and contrast different opinions or experiences. In both cases, you should prepare questions ahead of time according to your topic and your research question. CROWD SOURCING Depending on your topic and your research question, it might be appropriate to gather your own statistics. For this, you will need to question a relatively large number of people. You may prepare a questionnaire with several questions your target population can answer, giving you a broad selection of opinions and experiences. Another way to collect this type of information is by using a social media platform such as Facebook. Be creative, but remember that you will have to consolidate and process the responses. Keep your questions simple. Research Project - Part III: Writing WHAT TO DO WITH THE INFORMATION Your first step will be to summarize the articles you have chosen. But first, gather your sources in a single reference folder. You may want to copy/paste the articles into a word file so you can highlight the relevant information and manipulate the text (deleting irrelevant chapters, etc.). Note: You will need to attach a copy of each source to your final project. *Prepare your bibliography as you work. The bibliography must include: • The title of the article • The full name of the author(s) • The website where you found it OR the publication in which it appears • Any other relevant information Start looking today. You may find yourself searching for additional resources as you work. SUMMARIZING THE ARTICLES This will be the basis of your chapters. Use the SQ3xR technique… S – Skim/Survey the text Q – Write Questions based on the survey R – Read the text and answer your questions in note form R – Rewrite your notes as coherent text, without using the original text R – Review what you have written and correct your mistakes Skim/Survey • Look at the structure of the text: introduction and conclusion, headings, titles, paragraphs. Note: Not every text has a clear and helpful structure Write Questions • "What and Why and When / and How and Where and Who" (Rudyard Kipling) • Questions have to be adapted to each particular text, but these six question words can be a good starting point. Read • Now that you know what kind of information you are looking for, read the whole text. • Write down the main points, as answers to the questions you asked. • Look for topic sentences. Underline or use a highlighter to help you. Note: In a long article, not every paragraph has a topic sentence. • If possible and necessary, use graphic organizers (flowchart, etc.) (Re)write • Based on your notes, and not on the basis of the original text, write the summary. • Sit on the original text if you have to. Seriously, don't look at the original text during this stage of the summarizing process. This will keep you from plagiarizing. • "Collapse" paragraphs – If paragraphs are related and if they repeat/explain/give details about each other, try to combine the information they contain into one or two sentences. • Collapse lists – Where possible, and if necessary, use one word or phrase for a list of things. For example: eyes, ears, neck, arms, legs  body parts; ice skating, skiing, sledding  winter sports • Delete unnecessary details, trivial information, and repetitions. • Do not give your personal opinion. Save this for the conclusion. • Give credit to the source; make clear that this is a summary of an original text. • Paraphrase – Try not to use words from the original text, but to say the same thing in your own words using synonyms, parallel phrases, etc. REMEMBER: If you are able to paraphrase a sentence or a text well, it usually means that you have understood what you have read. • Use connectors to link the sentences. Add introductory and closing sentences to your paragraphs. Review • Read the summary (aloud if possible) to see if the text is fluent and cohesive. It should make sense, be readable and understandable. Correct any mistakes. • See if the summary gives the "big picture", and check if the questions that you asked are all answered in the summary. • Make any necessary changes and review the summary once again. Do this for each article you have chosen. After you have written the body of your paper, you are ready to write your introduction and conclusion. INTRODUCTION • A hooking sentence to engross reader • Why the research subject is important to you. • Basic background on the subject of research. • Presentation of research questions. • What do you expect to find. CONCLUSION • Remind the reader of the research purpose and questions. • Briefly summarize the results of the research. • Has your research answered the questions? What is the answer to your research questions? • Describe the process you went through. What did you find easy? What was difficult? How did you and your partner/s divide the work? Etc. • Options: o Provide an idea for future research on your topic o What would you have done differently if you could start over? o Recommend a solution to a problem o Anything else you want to include Formatting Requirements (non-negotiable): Font: Times New Roman Font Size: 12-13 Line Spacing: 1.5 (not 1.15) Page Margins: Normal Page Numbers (bottom) You may be creative with your cover page.  Project Length: 11-15 pages - Including the title page and bibliography, Not including appendices if any, or your source articles Bibliography Requirements: Minimum Bibliography Entries: 6 A bibliography section must be presented after the conclusion of the research paper. The bibliography ensures that you have not plagiarized other authors’ work. Bibliographic entries are listed in alphabetical order. All sources found on the internet must include a link. Model bibliographic entry for one source: Last Name, First Name. (date). Title. Name and date of publication. Link Example: Epstein, B. (2014). The Role of Care Bears in the International Spread of Communism. Journal of Subversive Cartoon Characters, 7-23. Research Project – Part IV: Oral Presentation Oral Presentation After completing your research and before the oral Bagrut exam, you will be required to make an oral presentation of your topic and your findings to your class. • Your presentation must be no less than five minutes, and no more than ten minutes. • You may use visual aids (a Power Point presentation, pictures, charts, etc.) • You may use audio/visual aids (music, short videos, etc.) ASSESSMENT OF THE PROJECT Your assessment will be based on: • Content – Does your presentation have an introduction, a presentation of your findings, a conclusion and reflection? Is the information relevant to the topic? Do you use fluent expression? Are your ideas stated clearly? Do you use your own words? • Vocabulary – Do you use varied and rich vocabulary correctly? Do you make effective choice of words and idioms? Is your usage correct? Do you use appropriate register (formal)? • Language Use – Do you use language structures correctly (grammar)? Are there few errors of agreement, tense, word order, connectors, pronouns, prepositions? • Mechanics (Written Presentation) – Do you use correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, paragraphing? • Communication (Oral Presentation) – Do you use correct pronunciation? Do you speak fluently, with ease and with confidence? Do you make eye contact with your audience? Do you plan your time well?