Chapter 9: Research and Evidence
Research is a word that defines the process of inquiry, location, selection, evaluation, and application of sources. There are many types of research. A discussion of information includes the different ways that you can conduct research. Informed learning requires that you be able to identify these research types and choose accordingly which one might be useful in what context or scenario. You also want to think about how one type of research might be better implemented for the desired purpose or effect of the audience. The types of research this chapter introduces include Personal and Professional Experience, Internet Research, Library Research, and Interviewing.
Personal and Professional Experience
You will most likely want to research ideas you find interesting and can see connections to meaningful and effective ways to learn and use the information. Personal and Professional experience are great ways to begin to think about topics or areas that you can write or speak about due to your own knowledge and expertise. Using Personal and Professional experience can help lessen anxiety by allowing you to speak about subjects you are already familiar with or share meaningful stories. Additionally, when speaking from experience you are more excited about your topic, and this improves eye contact because you rely less upon your speaking notes. You connect on a personal level with the audience and build connections through something you are passionate about. Students may not always respond to a topic, but they will respond to a person.
Personal experience relies on the unique frames of reference and worldviews based on the experiences that have shaped your sense of self or identity. Personal experiences can be based on age, race, or economic status. These personal experiences can also be influenced by the way you were raised, educated, or formed connections to media, society, or culture.
Personal experience is a great way to incorporate a sense of reality and sincerity into your message. You can choose common or shared experiences with your audience to better meet and anticipate audience understanding. If you share your experience, those in the audience will begin to think about their own experiences, identifying and critiquing your experience against their own. It is a great way to encourage interest and engagement. Many times we choose topics that have affected us personally. Sharing these experiences remind others how certain topics affect them at their age, in their neighborhoods, or among their friends because they are being provided a real life experience from their peer.
Prom is a shared experience for most teenagers and young adults. It reflects a very important ritual with common themes that are echoed in television and film from movies such as Pretty in Pink, Carrie, and Mean Girls. Thee are identifiable characteristics that create this sense of the experience and how it should be shared. including bullying, the dress, alcohol, sex, and dancing. This experience is one that has been chronicled for years as a right of passage and often planned with the same sentiment as a wedding. When you share your experience with peers, there is a level of comparison based on expectations and one’s own relationship to their experience or lack thereof. More recently, we are seeing a resurgence of this experience in the media based on new interpretations of prom in response to gender.
This blog post from the ACLU summarizes some of these new interpretations.
Professional experience relies on information gained in a professional capacity. If you have gained specific knowledge or experience from education, training, or practice in relationship to your career, the information you have attained counts as professional experience. The phrase “Professional Experience” stands out as an area you would include on your resume and is precisely what you would consider.
Professional experience can add credibility to a presentation by allowing others to see that you have more legitimate knowledge than others. For example, if you have interned, served in the military, or have a professional image as a college student, this lets you share your experiences in a real way and connect to an audience that shares your demographic characteristics. This encourages your audience to make its own connections to your topic.
An interview is a conversation in which someone is questioned about their background, lifestyle or experience and answers are given. Interviews are a great way to rely on others for personal and professional experience. Interviews can be structured (formal), semi- structured (blended), or unstructured (informal). The traditional interview experience is between two people in a face-to-face setting. Increasingly, interviews are conducted in groups, by a panel, or virtually with the use of technology. No matter the format, interviews following a similar pattern.
Interviewing often follows a simple structure and there are some key ideas that can make your interview more successful. Always remember that you need to do research and prepare before the interview. What can you learn about the person or the person’s connection to your topic? What resources can you utilize to gain this knowledge? Based on your research, develop questions or talking points to encourage sharing. Be respectful of others’ time and be clear about expectations for the interview (where will you meet, if the interview is recorded, how much time you need, the purpose of the interview, etc.).
Find the information you need and think through how you want to design questions for the interview. Use prepared questions. primary questions identify key ideas and direct the interview content. secondary questions redirect and clarify or build on primary questions. For an informational interview, you may ask more open questions that do not require a specific answer and allow the interviewee to direct and manage more of the conversation and acquire more perspectives and variety in responses. Identify whether questions may be Biased Questions or Neutral Questions. neutral questions are without opinion; whereas, biased questions present an opinion or agenda in the response. For a survey or data analysis, you may ask more closed questions to generate short one word answers or numerical responses.
Want to get some ideas on how to conduct an Informational (Research) Interview? Lily Zhang, a Career Development Specialist at MIT, wrote a blog post detailing how to construct an informational interview for someone who works in a career you are interested in pursuing.
In thinking about interviewing from a research perspective, the interview offers a new and varied perspective. This builds credibility because it shows diversity in opinion and approach to the subject, which presents more trust when more sources are used. It can be difficult to know exactly what information to include, what information is needed, or how to organize the information. A point person or expert can be a great resource. In many instances, this person has experience researching the topic and provide important advice for what should be considered the most important, relevant or timely points, and how to best communicate a message. Lastly, there are numerous factors that divide us as an audience or create a differing worldview from those around us. We may not identify with the author because we feel they do not represent us, our ideals, or our experiences. An expert can bridge those gaps and allow you to choose someone that your audience can connect to, trust, or admire.
You may be wondering, “What constitutes Internet research?” Examples of internet research can be non-print resources, or formats with special characters whose information content can only be access through the use of machines / digital equipment such as e-book, e-journals, e- images, etc. Internet resources can also include email, blogs, and list-serves can be used to collect interview statements and provide experience. Media sources such as radio, TV, film, audio and video recordings add visual content and increase audience engagement with a topic. Websites, virtual libraries, educational indexes and search engines can be used to locate content and knowledge.
Knowing how to utilize a search engine can be extremely helpful in applying informed learning to an online environment. There are shortcuts, operators, features, punctuation, and symbol searches. Also, a site’s address (i.e., Uniform Resource Locator, or URL) contains information that can provide the purpose in selecting a source. You probably recognize .com or .org as two types of URL and there may be others that you recognize but are unsure what would be scholarly or appropriate. American universities, colleges, and secondary schools often use .edu. Not-for-profit or non-profit organizations often use the .org suffix. Businesses, news, and database websites use .com/ .net. Personal sites are individual sites that are not representative of a larger body, but a personal or local business, news, or information website and use .site.
Library research includes all of the resources found in the library or through its website. There are three main areas of library research: Classification and Catalog, Reference Works, and Print Resources. classification and catalog use a variety of categorization to help patrons locate materials in the library. The catalog organizes resources by author, title, Library of Congress Subject Heading, and call number. periodicals are works published at regular intervals such as daily, weekly, monthly, or even annually. These include general interest magazines and professional and academic journals. Periodicals are generally peer reviewed or edited and provide a variety of perspectives. They can provide in-depth information, research, and data statistics and studies. They can contain more up-to-date information than books or e-books. Newspaper Indexes provide a searchable database of news articles, including more current information. reference works are books and other works that contain useful facts and information, such asEncyclopedia’s, Dictionaries, Directories, Atlases, Almanacs, Books of Quotations, and Biographies. print resources are printed text and images or paper publications that are in the form of physical editions of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, etc. Books in print can provide more in-depth, credible, and historical research. Newspapers in print can provide more local information by providing access to smaller, community papers.
The Cunningham Memorial Library, Indiana State University
The Cunningham Memorial Library at Indiana State University has a wealth of resources for conducting your research and also provides a quiet place to work and study. Visit the Cunningham Memorial Library site for a better view of what the library has to offer. Library and cafe hours are easily accessible and you can also find a calendar featuring library events. Many of the events posted here offer student assistance workshops, campus engagement opportunities, or provide events that may meet participation for some class assignments.
Under the “For Students” area near the center of the page, links bring you to information about the library’s instruction resources, the Math & Writing Center, services for distance students, and library tutorials.
Sometimes our library does not have the specific source you are looking for. Inter-library loan lets you obtain materials that the library does not have. Reserves and Scanning Services allows you to access course-related materials that help supplement your instruction. Many of the faculty will reserve copies of textbooks to ensure all students have access to needed reading materials. You can always request that a faculty member put additional materials on reserve in the library if you believe it will help your performance in the class.
Reference/Instruction librarians hold weekly walk-in hours for assistance or you may also contact them directly to set up an appointment outside of their regular office hours.
Identifying Research Types and Use Chart
|Research Type||Reason and Use|
|Personal & Professional Experience||