Situating academic research

GSST 091 / Feminist Research Methods // 2017-01-18

Sarah Elichko - Social Sciences Librarian

What is research?

Process

Stuff

something you find
(and create)

something you do

Confusingly, evidence of some key aspects of the process is often absent from the stuff.

I'm researching gender identity and clowns.

I'm looking for some research on gender identity and clowns.

Tonight's session:

- Start making sense of how library research fits

  with other research methods
 

- Explore characteristics of academic writing 

  and implications for doing library research

 

- Begin developing your research interests into

  research questions

          

What does (doing) research involve?

"Research can take many forms: systematically observing events, finding out what happens when one performs certain procedures in the laboratory, conducting interviews, tape-recording speakers' comments, asking human beings to utter aloud their thoughts while composing in writing or in another medium and noting what emerges, photographing phenomena (such as the light received in a telescope from planets and stars), watching the activities of people in groups, reading a person's letters and notes: all these are research. So, of course, is looking up information in a library or in newspaper files, or reading documents to which one has gained access under the Freedom of Information Act ... ."

(Richard Larson, 1982)

What does research involve?

"Research can take many forms: systematically observing events, finding out what happens when one performs certain procedures in the laboratory, conducting interviews, tape-recording speakers' comments, asking human beings to utter aloud their thoughts while composing in writing or in another medium and noting what emerges, photographing phenomena (such as the light received in a telescope from planets and stars), watching the activities of people in groups, reading a person's letters and notes: all these are research. So, of course, is looking up information in a library or in newspaper files, or reading documents to which one has gained access under the Freedom of Information Act ... ."

(Richard Larson, 1982)

Key characteristics of academic writing + implications for doing library research

Academic writing is dialogic
 

Disciplines shape questions, expectations, and approaches
 

History matters - formation of disciplines, information technology
 

Much of the research process is often invisible in the product

Articulating your research interests

Activity: generating ideas

Focus less on finding individual sources
Try to identify the scholarly conversations to which your sources are linked

Academic writing is dialogic

Practices:

- Contextualize your sources - author, discipline
- Good record-keeping

         - Citation + pseudocitation
         - Annotation

         - Search logs

Tools:  
- Citation searching // Google Scholar, Web of Science

- Synthetic articles + books // review essays, handbooks

Seeing research interests from multiple perspectives

Activity: Review essay

 

Activity: Creating a database search log

Research is an active + non-linear process of inquiry, involving:

generating ideas and articulating your areas of interest
 

focusing your research interests --> research(able) questions

 

thinking about your question(s) from multiple angles + perspectives

 

identifying scholarly conversations that may be relevant to your questions in some way  -- reading widely, not deeply

 

selecting some texts to focus on + read deeply

Individual meetings

 

Reach out any time:
- Sarah Elichko -- selichk1