Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leedy/Ormand Reading Summary

Part I: The Fundamentals
What is Research?

A fairly straightforward approach to defining research, the author starts by describing "What Research is Not". We are then lead through a series of statements and in-depth examples to shed light on the misconceptions, and misuse of the term research. Research is not information gathering, not transportation of facts from one location to another, not rummaging for information, not a catchword used to get attention. Essentially the essence of research is the interpretation of the data.

There are certain key points in defining what research is: it originates with a question or a problem, requires clear articulation of a goal, requires a plan, divides the principal problem into subproblems, is lead by hypothesis, accepts certain critical assumptions, and requires the collection and interpretation of data in an attempt to resolve the problem that initiated the research. Most important to realize about research is that it is, by nature, cyclical.

The overarching message is that it is the organization and interpretation of data that creates valuable information in research. And although each interpretation is different - because research in inevitably subjective, it is the only way that new meaning is extracted. In doing research in a genuine way, we learn that more problems and questions arise, and that the process creates the need for more research, "such is the nature of the acquisition of knowledge."

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