Academic research is by its very nature evidence-based. It also takes you from mere information-seeking (as, for example, a Google search to find when Martin Luther lived) to problem-solving. This is a major shift. Here are some examples:
Information-Seeking (you can
look them up) - Don't do this Problem-Solving
|What did Martin Luther accomplish
during his life?
|Why did Martin Luther become
increasingly anti-Semitic during his life?
|What are the principles of servant leadership?||
How can a servant leader motivate
|What are the problems homeless
people face in cities?
How can a local church effectively
|The key to academic research is that it is not a matter of finding something out. It is finding something out so that you can use the found information to solve a problem. That is a crucial step beyond information as goal to information as tool.|
[Click on the file link above to download a template in rich text format (works in most word processors). It will form an outline so you can insert your answers under each heading. You can then submit the complete document to Prof. Badke by e-mail attachment].
1. Read Research Strategies, Chapter Three, and Appendix, A.1.1-A.1.8 (The appendix is especially helpful.)
2. State your research topic. Go to the library home page, click on the Research Guides tab and navigate to the subject area that covers your research topic. Once there, go to the "Encyclopedias" tab and find an encyclopedia, dictionary, etc. that covers your topic. If your topic is based on a biblical passage, choose one of the E-Commentaries tabs.
State the name of the reference source, and the title of the entry in it.
Summarize the main facts of the topic in 8-10 lines (do not state your own views or plans related to the topic.)
3. Do a Google search on your topic and identify three websites (can include Wikipedia) that seem reasonably credible. Assess credibility by determining who is the author/creator of each site, what their qualifications are, and whether or not you see signs of bias. If you can't find one or more of these elements, just state that. For each, give an evaluation of the reliability and value of the site.
4. State 3-5 potential research questions related to your topic.
5. Choose the potential question that you think is the best. This will become your question for your project, though you can modify it as you go. You may want to run your question by Dr. Saffold to see if it is viable for this course.
6. Create a preliminary outline of 3-5 points to guide your ongoing research. The following presentation offers advice on how to do this:
1. Use of appropriate reference source
2. Clear summary of facts about the topic
3. Wise choice and evaluation of websites
4. Clear problem-based potential research questions
5. Choice of the best of the questions
6. Logical outline drawn from the research question
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