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COMM 495 Honors Seminar: Research Process

Research Process Overview

The research process typically includes five broad steps. Most often you complete one step before moving onto the next. However, there may be times when you will need to return to a previous step or complete multiple steps simultaneously.

Step 1.Brain storm
 Develop Research Questions  I Find Background Information

Create a Concept Map Video

Step 2.  Create a Concept map | identify Keywords-- Create a Concept Map (view the brief video)
 Books | Databases | Websites | Search Strategies

Step 3. Revise
List research question | Group similar questions

Step 4. Focus
Select a research question| Does not rely primarily on interview data

Step 5. Reflection
Narrowed research questions to the top three questions |
Will the research question address a relevant, meaningful, and under researched problem? | Does the question deal with a topic or issue of  interest? | Does it challenge or question current knowledge practices, theories, or assumptions, and will help to improve a situation?


adapted from the work of Norman Blaikie in Designing Social Research

Scholarly vs. Popular Journals

Published in an academic journal, described also as refereed or peer-reviewed Published in a popular, general interest, or news magazine
Author is expert on topic or scholar Author may be lay reporter
Specialized audience of peers or students Audience includes general public
Goal is to inform or present research Goal is often to entertain or persuade
Research-based Report events or findings of others
Includes sources: footnotes and bibliography Sources may not be cited formally
Vocabulary is complex and technical Vocabulary is familiar, non-technical
Graphics used to illustrate a point Graphics used for visual impact
Titles may include the words Journal, Review, or Annals; and/or refer to a field of study. Examples: Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Journal of Higher Education Titles often general, usually catchier. Examples: People Weekly, Newsweek
Published monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually Published weekly or monthly

Often your professor will tell you to choose only "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" article resources when you do research for a paper.  This table shows some key contrasts between scholarly and popular resources.  Many of the Libraries' article citation databases include an option to search only scholarly, but not all do, so this table should come in handy.

Your LIbrarian

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Chimene Tucker
Doheny Memorial Library
room 224
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