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Good Research?

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Good Research?
    Posted: 14-Mar-2007 at 20:57
 
..hello everyone

 

..As this new forum deals with the conduct of research/study, I would like to offer up an example of a test I was given many moons ago

 

..as part of a job application I was requested to the answer the question; What Makes a Good Piece of Research? I had to write this up  in less than 150 words. This was not necessarily pertinent to historical research, but I thought it might be a worthwhile task to see what other forum members would consider writing if asked the same question, and perhaps slanted more to the research of history?

 

..for what is worth, this was my final piece and it was much more difficult to do than I first imagined, especially with the word constraint in place.maybe others would like to have a go and post their responses here.

 

A good piece of research will reflect the personal competence and experience of the actual researcher. Preferably, such a piece of work will demonstrate the writers acquaintance with methods of research, an ability to manage large and diverse quantities of information, the capability to accumulate, select and interpret a wide range of material both critically and analytically, as well as objectively. Perhaps most importantly, is the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner and present the material clearly, concisely and with sound conclusions. The reader/customer should then feel confident enough to utilise the material researched without the need to extensively unravel the original piece of work. The information garnered from the research should then ideally be able to inform, educate, and warrant either further exploration, or sit as a finished and complete article.

 

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  Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2007 at 22:07
Well, I guess you have opened the philosophical Pandora's box.

I agree with your general definition. To participate in your discussion, I will make it concrete to history.

Good historical research must be based on primary sources. This makes the practice of history a little hard for amateurs who lack access to a research library or who lives in the wrong country if their interests lies somewhere else.

Lacking primary sources, the best next thing is using the best sources available.

After that, honesty is an important element. One must to be honest to include and acknowledge evidence that contradicts our preconceptions. Pseudo-history seems to be marked by the inability to deal with evidence that contradicts their agenda.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2007 at 05:59
Originally posted by hugoestr

Well, I guess you have opened the philosophical Pandora's box.

I agree with your general definition. To participate in your discussion, I will make it concrete to history.

Good historical research must be based on primary sources. This makes the practice of history a little hard for amateurs who lack access to a research library or who lives in the wrong country if their interests lies somewhere else.

Lacking primary sources, the best next thing is using the best sources available.

After that, honesty is an important element. One must to be honest to include and acknowledge evidence that contradicts our preconceptions. Pseudo-history seems to be marked by the inability to deal with evidence that contradicts their agenda.
 
..thank you Hugoestr for your reply and jolly good stab at the question and under 100 words!!! i particularly like the 'honesty' point that has been picked....
 
..i wonder if anybody else could add or subtract anything to what has already been stated?...


Edited by Act of Oblivion - 15-Mar-2007 at 05:59
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  Quote Ovidius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2007 at 10:06
I would subtract 'objectively', or alter it. It has been established that objectivity is an impossibility, so any researcher should 'strive for objectivity'.

As for what good research is... Good research requires a sound knowledge of the previous work within the field and the neccessary theory connected to the concepts you are attempting to explore. But that really only fits to academic research i suppose, not for a job application. :)
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2007 at 12:53
 
 
..thank you for your response Ovidius
 
....Ovidius noted that....
 
As for what good research is... Good research requires a sound knowledge of the previous work within the field and the neccessary theory connected to the concepts you are attempting to explore.
 
..i think that is what i was trying to say when i included A good piece of research will reflect the personal competence and experience of the actual researcher. The difficulty was trying to say alot of things but in a condensed fashion, to be concise and accurate is also a mark of quality research, and i guess that was one of the points of the allotted task...
 
..as for 'objectivity is an impossibility', i am not sure if i would agree totally with that point.....however, as a more general inclusion to the answer, i would support adding 'strive', but the 'real' effort should be for total objectivity, whether that can be achieved or not is another matter, one must try...
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  Quote Ovidius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2007 at 13:04
Absolutely, I don't believe Historians/researchers should go out an present partial works and be purposfully subjective.

My point is merely that we can never 'be objective', only strive to be objective. I believe that objectivity is not important to research, but the effort!

Also, as for the rest of your statements, I think for the purpose of an introduction for a Job application, you made a very good effort. I think a concise argument of what research is about and how it should be conducted, could easily be squeezed into a 100k word book! So in 150 words, you covered the most important things!
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2007 at 15:34
 
...maybe it would be a good exercise, for practical purposes, to remove the word restraint that i was under and ask the same question but allow other forum members to explore the answer without restriction?...and focus on history research for the answer, not to state an argument concerning the pros and cons, but perhaps try and provide some form of concise and workable definition?
 
..would anybody like to have a go?
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  Quote Wrageowrapper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2007 at 18:31
Good research requires utter devotion from the researcher to understand all the facets of the hypothesis the research is trying to address. An understanding must be formed as to its context, cause and effect, repercussions and area of influence. Basically its the question that is the most important thing you will write (kind of like Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy).
This comes from my own experiences trying to write a masters thesis (not on history). I have done all this research and now I must figure out what my hypothesis actually is and how I can prove it (with other hypothesis) which means reading and researching all over again. If I knew to begin with everything there was to know about my hypothesis and question then it would have made the research OH so much easier.

The research and thus the hypothesis must contain no agenda, be objective, clear and concise and add to the pool of knowledge on the subject (no need to reinvent the wheel or keep it a secret).

If the research used public funds (such as research grant, scholarship, welfare) then effort must be made to make the findings accessable to the general public (this is especialy true for cultural studies and anthropology which is what I am doing).

Its a bonus, not a sign of good research, if it gets you some action after publication.
Nuenonne Palawa-kani wrageowrapper.
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