This continues April 3rd’s research discussion and provides some theoretical aspects of research and knowledge making. I’m repeating part of our last page. The new stuff starts with “Epistemology.” Please review Appendix B (pp. 371-378) in Tebeaux and Dragga for more information on citing sources and gaging credibility. It’s not on the syllabus, but you need to read it because it’s germane to this week’s discussion.
For more information on citing sources, I like the Purdue OWL.
Consider the following questions for our research discussions:
- What is research?
- How would you find information on…?
- What is epistemology?
- How do we determine a source’s credibility?
- What are the annotated bibliography requirements?
What is research? Why do it? Why is it something people devote their lives to? What does it mean to research a topic? Where do you start? When do you stop? How do you come to a conclusion? Do you or should you come to a conclusion?
I know what you’re thinking: “Hold on! Can’t you just tell us what to do?” Well, I could, but where’s the fun in that?
Think about how you’ve conducted research and where you learned to research. Think about the research assignments you’ve done for other classes (in high school or college). What were their purposes, and how did you create a research “paper” or final project?
How do we make knowledge? How do we take data and make it information? Let’s consider those questions as we explore epistemology. This should lead us into a page on Thinking Critically about Research.
Are all sources equal? What makes a source credible or not so credible? Below are the names and descriptions of some types of sources you may encounter:
- Popular media—Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Charlotte Observer
- Internet sources—sources which exist solely online and do not mimic “traditional” print sources:
(The links below should open up in new windows)
- Sources found on the Internet—databases and online “card” catalogs
- Trade and business sources—white papers, consumer reports, other sources for semi-technical to highly technical
- Specialized/Government Sources—commissioned reports, expert panels, empirical research
- Scholarly/peer reviewed/refereed sources—sources vetted by experts in a field before publication. These are often considered the most authoritative (especially in the humanities), but, because of the lag time in publishing (months to years after acceptance), some knowledge might be out of date by publication for STEM disciplines.
- Authoritative sources—the above three types of sources and usually primary sources or sources that have proven their reliability for offering credible information to a specialized group
Next week, we’ll cover ethics in technical communication. Keep up with the syllabus and do Weekly Discussion Post #12 by Thursday, 4/06, 11:00pm.