Research Skills

5 research ATL Cluster RESEARCH

ATL provide a common language that students and teachers can use to reflect on, and articulate on, the process of learning.

 

Research skills are important because as the social individuals we are, we have the responsibility of contributing to the development of our environment… We honestly have no choice. And we will only be able to be a part of the construction of new knowledge and ideas if we make learning ours, if we learn and help others learn in the process of discovering new understandings, and designing new, innovative ways of generating projects that will enable others to also contribute.

Some problems are not solely to be solved; they are also to be understood.

Learning about research: A personal anecdote 

My Learning and Development teacher in High School taught me some very interesting insights on why research ought to matter to me. She mentioned that since I was the one making the effort and exposing myself to the scrutinizing criticism of others, I needed to develop ways of becoming more informed, as this will clearly help others becoming more informed as well. She taught me that it was pointless to generate a final product that solely stated ideas; she insisted that we had to produce a medium that explained how are thoughts were being designed. She inculcated the art or writing with the value and character of a story, not solely an argument. She emphasized the importance of being focused, but to think of every stage and every resource as an instrument, for I would need to compose a symphony. She also insisted that we had to care for logic, but also should aim to create empathy. And, most importantly, she made a point about the fact that research was a serious experience, but we had to find a way to learn to play with the process of creating knowledge.

This teacher taught me why research was important and how it would positively affect my future life. She did not lie one bit, and this is why I feel the need to share this learning, as you all are at the point where I was at that time.

Watch this video. One of the people in it says that ‘we all will be doing research at some point in our lives’. Do you agree? Why? Why not?

Media Literacy

It is essential for anyone who does research and academics to employ up-to-date information and to know where to find it. The core of having strong media literacy skills in order to be informed and to inform others lies is being sensitized about the information that can be found in books, music, video, art, audio materials, articles, databases, and Images.

Take a look at the suggestions provided by the Victoria University Library to learn how information varies from medium to medium. Use the link “here”.

Need more help? Ask your school librarian

Information Literacy

Keeping in mind that information can be found in a variety of places, it is important that we find credible and convincing pieces that convey multiple perspectives (and not solely that of the author) in order to avoid using a source that may be biases. A source that is developed from multiple angles will help us find answer to questions and pose more questions that will benefit our research. Thus, it is important to focus on words that are used to tell stories accurately, and to identify those that reflect biases and prejudices.

Below are some pointers on how to evaluate sources:

Evaluating for Authority, Accuracy and Currency

We need to be critical of the information we find. “Quality control” is important when we utilize someone else’s ideas.

There are subtle differences when evaluating different types of information. However, there are three criteria that you should consider with any type of information you consider using.

Authority: Author and source

Author

  • Is the author an expert in the field?
  • Is the author affiliated with a reputable university, government agency, or organization?
  • Has the author published other articles or books?

Source

  • Is the information from a scholarly or peer-reviewed source?

Accuracy

What evidence, such as references or footnotes, did the author(s) provide to demonstrate they are providing accurate information. It is important to be aware of how the degree of accuracy, and whether the source solely reflects the author’s opinion, as this will add to the objectivity or bias or our information.

Currency

Is the information up-to-date? Since we live in the information age, currency matters for your topic. Evidently, old information can also be used to build background. However, you must understand the difference.

*Adapted from http://www.li.suu.edu

Here is a list of points to consider when you are trying to judge the reliability of information you find on the Internet.

  • Who is the author or sponsor of the page?
  • Are there obvious reasons for bias?
  • Is contact information provided?
    (Note that a tilde [~] in the page’s address usually indicates a personal home page and may require more searching for reliability.)
  • Is this page a “zombie,”.
    Check whether the author continues to update the page.
  • What is the purpose of the page?
    Always wonder why is this information being posted on the page you found it.
  • How well organized is the page?
  • Is the information on the page primary or secondary?
  • Can you verify the information?
    Check whether there is a bibliography provided.
  • If you are worried that the information may lack credibility, try starting with a source you know is reputable.
  • Finally, remember that even though a page might not meet your standards as a citable source, it may help you generate good ideas or point to other usable sources. Bad pages inform us of what we must not use.
**Adapted from http://www.mhhe.com

Watch the video “here” to learn more about Evaluating Sources.

How to site.

You can find guidelines on how to site in various formats (APA, Harvard, MLA, AGLC) at http://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite by The university of Melbourne.

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