MODULE 2: The Research Process:
Section 1 of 6, INTRODUCTION, page 1 of 2


Creating papers, speeches, reports, presentations, and other scholarly works is a central part of college life. Such endeavors help students to gain knowledge and to demonstrate their ability to communicate that knowledge to others.

While this tutorial typically speaks of “writing a paper,” the concepts presented here apply to any projects requiring the use of outside information sources, i.e., something other than the writer's personal experiences, opinions, or knowledge.

Welcome to Module #2, The Research Process, or “Where are we going with all of this?”

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, provides the following definition of research.

1: careful or diligent search

2: studious inquiry or examination; esp : investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws

3: the collecting of information about a particular subject

It’s all about information…

Some information needs are simple and straightforward—you need to find out who discovered the element Krypton—you need to know what the capital of the country of Malta is—you need to read a specific journal article assigned by your instructor.

Some information needs are more complex—you need to write a paper about the Harley-Davidson company—you are writing a report about the Ernest Hemingway novel The Old Man and the Sea—you are preparing a speech on laws governing activities in outer space. You may even be preparing a report of original research (your investigation); such a paper includes a presentation of your data, methodology, results, etc., and also provides background and supporting information from outside sources.

…and how to manage that information.

How to search for it, how to obtain it, how to assess it, how to keep track of it, and how to present it.


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