The importance of conducting adequate and pertinent research cannot be understated. This one aspect of communication is all-important to successfully communicating concepts. It can be said that wisdom is gained through focussed and logical research. This concept, portrayed visually in Eunson (2012, p. 76) is a multifaceted process that requires careful planning. Therefor, planning research can be one of the most valuable aspects of any form of communication.
Successful research involves a thought process known as critical thinking. This is a learned skill that does not intend negative thinking as the name suggests; more precisely, it refers to looking at things from many different standpoints devoid of personal emotion. This process removes bias from research, and thus enables the research to become honed and efficient.
Isolating keywords will help to avoid misuse of time, an important consideration within a professional context. By compiling a list of keywords, a thesis statement can be formulated that helps to set the direction of the research. The thesis statement can, and often is modified due to several factors, notably a change in direction due to the realization that the research conducted to that point is not in agreement with the thesis statement. The list of keywords is also a valuable article in relation to research conducted on a search engine. This list of words can be seen as a delimiting device, and when combined with Boolean operators on a search engine, the list of results can be honed to a succinct list. By using this approach, a researcher can avoid spending many hours reviewing results lists on search engines.
To be successful at communication, integrity is important. This is achieved through the use of credible sources of information. While a search engine such as Google may be seen as a good source of information; much of the information found through conventional sources does show a clear bias in the opinions expressed. Search engines such as those used by university libraries tend to focus on peer-reviewed literature, and therefor can be seen as a reliable source of information.
Reflection exercise 4.2
This week’s work, focusing upon research, proved to be a valuable refresher for many of the skills that were taught during the STEPS program. A great deal of time was spent on learning the important skills involved with research; namely critical thinking, information literacy, and how to use them successfully. The last “research” that was conducted by myself was for a final assessment item for a STEPS course dedicated to essay writing. This essay was primarily focused on putting research skills into practice to produce an academic essay. By using the concepts stated above, I was able to successfully hone the focus of my research through the use of keywords, delimiting words and Boolean operators to such a degree that the time taken to research and find relevant sources was highly economical time wise. This allowed me to achieve my goals as I found the sources I required with ease. My research was limited to peer reviewed articles found via the CQUniversity library search engine; this was a purposeful decision that achieved credibility and avoided bias within the research materials.
These research skills, once learned, have proven to be invaluable; I have applied them to many other aspects of life. Opinions of all kinds, whether they be a newspaper article or on a television program, that cannot be backed with credible research are now viewed as incredulous.
Academic Learning Services Unit, Essay writing for university study guide, Academic Services Unit CQUniversity Australia
Digital Image 1, viewed 15 September 2015, http://www.westada.org/domain/209
Digital Image 2, viewed 15 September 2015, http://libguides.infohio.org/academiclibraryvisits
Eunson, B 2012, Communicating in the 21st century, John Wiley & Sons, Milton