Information Competency: Research for Group Discussion John A. Cagle
Asking the Right Questions n Questions about basic facts: What is (was) going on? n Questions about definition: What is it? n Questions about evaluation: How do you evaluate the facts and the definition? n Questions about policy: What should be done?
Purpose of research n To organize facts to understand the context of the problem n To define body of facts to understand the nature of a problem n To evaluate the facts of the problem in terms of certain criteria n To propose a solution to a problem
Problem question n Research begins with stating the focal question you are trying to answer n Initially, the problem question may be more general n The problem question may be modified in light of information discovered and made more specific
Things to consider n Is problem adaptable to your competencies and resources? n Is the problem significant? n To what extent is information available on this question?
What information is needed? n What information is needed? n Generate questions which arise from the problem question n What kinds of information could provide answers to these questions? n How can you get access to this information?
Methodology n “Facts” as they might be known at the time n Documents: any original written, auditory, or visual record –E.g.: government reports, newspaper article, transcript of a speech, diary, letter n Interpretations: blends facts from various sources into lucid and flowing narrative.
Sources n Primary material comes from original sources n Secondary sources are compilations and interpretations of material from various sources
Tests of evidence n Was source in position to perceive the event? Freedom from bias? n Was source intellectually capable to perceive it? Interpret it? n Was evidence clear, concise, intelligible? n Is evidence supported by evidence from other sources?
Evaluating each source n Relevant facts and content to research interest n Authority and credibility of the source: reliability n Timeliness of the evidence n Quality of the source: writing, accuracy, and thoroughness
Print sources n Books n Periodicals –Academic and professional journals –Magazines –Newspapers n Bibliographies and Indexes n Encyclopedias
Non-print sources n Internet –Search engines n Computer databases n CD-ROMS n Electronic databases n Interviewing