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11.1 The Purpose of Research Writing

Learning objectives.

  • Identify reasons to research writing projects.
  • Outline the steps of the research writing process.

Why was the Great Wall of China built? What have scientists learned about the possibility of life on Mars? What roles did women play in the American Revolution? How does the human brain create, store, and retrieve memories? Who invented the game of football, and how has it changed over the years?

You may know the answers to these questions off the top of your head. If you are like most people, however, you find answers to tough questions like these by searching the Internet, visiting the library, or asking others for information. To put it simply, you perform research.

Whether you are a scientist, an artist, a paralegal, or a parent, you probably perform research in your everyday life. When your boss, your instructor, or a family member asks you a question that you do not know the answer to, you locate relevant information, analyze your findings, and share your results. Locating, analyzing, and sharing information are key steps in the research process, and in this chapter, you will learn more about each step. By developing your research writing skills, you will prepare yourself to answer any question no matter how challenging.

Reasons for Research

When you perform research, you are essentially trying to solve a mystery—you want to know how something works or why something happened. In other words, you want to answer a question that you (and other people) have about the world. This is one of the most basic reasons for performing research.

But the research process does not end when you have solved your mystery. Imagine what would happen if a detective collected enough evidence to solve a criminal case, but she never shared her solution with the authorities. Presenting what you have learned from research can be just as important as performing the research. Research results can be presented in a variety of ways, but one of the most popular—and effective—presentation forms is the research paper . A research paper presents an original thesis, or purpose statement, about a topic and develops that thesis with information gathered from a variety of sources.

If you are curious about the possibility of life on Mars, for example, you might choose to research the topic. What will you do, though, when your research is complete? You will need a way to put your thoughts together in a logical, coherent manner. You may want to use the facts you have learned to create a narrative or to support an argument. And you may want to show the results of your research to your friends, your teachers, or even the editors of magazines and journals. Writing a research paper is an ideal way to organize thoughts, craft narratives or make arguments based on research, and share your newfound knowledge with the world.

Write a paragraph about a time when you used research in your everyday life. Did you look for the cheapest way to travel from Houston to Denver? Did you search for a way to remove gum from the bottom of your shoe? In your paragraph, explain what you wanted to research, how you performed the research, and what you learned as a result.

Research Writing and the Academic Paper

No matter what field of study you are interested in, you will most likely be asked to write a research paper during your academic career. For example, a student in an art history course might write a research paper about an artist’s work. Similarly, a student in a psychology course might write a research paper about current findings in childhood development.

Having to write a research paper may feel intimidating at first. After all, researching and writing a long paper requires a lot of time, effort, and organization. However, writing a research paper can also be a great opportunity to explore a topic that is particularly interesting to you. The research process allows you to gain expertise on a topic of your choice, and the writing process helps you remember what you have learned and understand it on a deeper level.

Research Writing at Work

Knowing how to write a good research paper is a valuable skill that will serve you well throughout your career. Whether you are developing a new product, studying the best way to perform a procedure, or learning about challenges and opportunities in your field of employment, you will use research techniques to guide your exploration. You may even need to create a written report of your findings. And because effective communication is essential to any company, employers seek to hire people who can write clearly and professionally.

Writing at Work

Take a few minutes to think about each of the following careers. How might each of these professionals use researching and research writing skills on the job?

  • Medical laboratory technician
  • Small business owner
  • Information technology professional
  • Freelance magazine writer

A medical laboratory technician or information technology professional might do research to learn about the latest technological developments in either of these fields. A small business owner might conduct research to learn about the latest trends in his or her industry. A freelance magazine writer may need to research a given topic to write an informed, up-to-date article.

Think about the job of your dreams. How might you use research writing skills to perform that job? Create a list of ways in which strong researching, organizing, writing, and critical thinking skills could help you succeed at your dream job. How might these skills help you obtain that job?

Steps of the Research Writing Process

How does a research paper grow from a folder of brainstormed notes to a polished final draft? No two projects are identical, but most projects follow a series of six basic steps.

These are the steps in the research writing process:

  • Choose a topic.
  • Plan and schedule time to research and write.
  • Conduct research.
  • Organize research and ideas.
  • Draft your paper.
  • Revise and edit your paper.

Each of these steps will be discussed in more detail later in this chapter. For now, though, we will take a brief look at what each step involves.

Step 1: Choosing a Topic

As you may recall from Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” , to narrow the focus of your topic, you may try freewriting exercises, such as brainstorming. You may also need to ask a specific research question —a broad, open-ended question that will guide your research—as well as propose a possible answer, or a working thesis . You may use your research question and your working thesis to create a research proposal . In a research proposal, you present your main research question, any related subquestions you plan to explore, and your working thesis.

Step 2: Planning and Scheduling

Before you start researching your topic, take time to plan your researching and writing schedule. Research projects can take days, weeks, or even months to complete. Creating a schedule is a good way to ensure that you do not end up being overwhelmed by all the work you have to do as the deadline approaches.

During this step of the process, it is also a good idea to plan the resources and organizational tools you will use to keep yourself on track throughout the project. Flowcharts, calendars, and checklists can all help you stick to your schedule. See Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , Section 11.2 “Steps in Developing a Research Proposal” for an example of a research schedule.

Step 3: Conducting Research

When going about your research, you will likely use a variety of sources—anything from books and periodicals to video presentations and in-person interviews.

Your sources will include both primary sources and secondary sources . Primary sources provide firsthand information or raw data. For example, surveys, in-person interviews, and historical documents are primary sources. Secondary sources, such as biographies, literary reviews, or magazine articles, include some analysis or interpretation of the information presented. As you conduct research, you will take detailed, careful notes about your discoveries. You will also evaluate the reliability of each source you find.

Step 4: Organizing Research and the Writer’s Ideas

When your research is complete, you will organize your findings and decide which sources to cite in your paper. You will also have an opportunity to evaluate the evidence you have collected and determine whether it supports your thesis, or the focus of your paper. You may decide to adjust your thesis or conduct additional research to ensure that your thesis is well supported.

Remember, your working thesis is not set in stone. You can and should change your working thesis throughout the research writing process if the evidence you find does not support your original thesis. Never try to force evidence to fit your argument. For example, your working thesis is “Mars cannot support life-forms.” Yet, a week into researching your topic, you find an article in the New York Times detailing new findings of bacteria under the Martian surface. Instead of trying to argue that bacteria are not life forms, you might instead alter your thesis to “Mars cannot support complex life-forms.”

Step 5: Drafting Your Paper

Now you are ready to combine your research findings with your critical analysis of the results in a rough draft. You will incorporate source materials into your paper and discuss each source thoughtfully in relation to your thesis or purpose statement.

When you cite your reference sources, it is important to pay close attention to standard conventions for citing sources in order to avoid plagiarism , or the practice of using someone else’s words without acknowledging the source. Later in this chapter, you will learn how to incorporate sources in your paper and avoid some of the most common pitfalls of attributing information.

Step 6: Revising and Editing Your Paper

In the final step of the research writing process, you will revise and polish your paper. You might reorganize your paper’s structure or revise for unity and cohesion, ensuring that each element in your paper flows into the next logically and naturally. You will also make sure that your paper uses an appropriate and consistent tone.

Once you feel confident in the strength of your writing, you will edit your paper for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and formatting. When you complete this final step, you will have transformed a simple idea or question into a thoroughly researched and well-written paper you can be proud of!

Review the steps of the research writing process. Then answer the questions on your own sheet of paper.

  • In which steps of the research writing process are you allowed to change your thesis?
  • In step 2, which types of information should you include in your project schedule?
  • What might happen if you eliminated step 4 from the research writing process?

Key Takeaways

  • People undertake research projects throughout their academic and professional careers in order to answer specific questions, share their findings with others, increase their understanding of challenging topics, and strengthen their researching, writing, and analytical skills.
  • The research writing process generally comprises six steps: choosing a topic, scheduling and planning time for research and writing, conducting research, organizing research and ideas, drafting a paper, and revising and editing the paper.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Open Education Online

10 Reasons Why Research is Important

No matter what career field you’re in or how high up you are, there’s always more to learn . The same applies to your personal life. No matter how many experiences you have or how diverse your social circle, there are things you don’t know. Research unlocks the unknowns, lets you explore the world from different perspectives, and fuels a deeper understanding. In some areas, research is an essential part of success. In others, it may not be absolutely necessary, but it has many benefits. Here are ten reasons why research is important:

#1. Research expands your knowledge base

The most obvious reason to do research is that you’ll learn more. There’s always more to learn about a topic, even if you are already well-versed in it. If you aren’t, research allows you to build on any personal experience you have with the subject. The process of research opens up new opportunities for learning and growth.

#2. Research gives you the latest information

Research encourages you to find the most recent information available . In certain fields, especially scientific ones, there’s always new information and discoveries being made. Staying updated prevents you from falling behind and giving info that’s inaccurate or doesn’t paint the whole picture. With the latest info, you’ll be better equipped to talk about a subject and build on ideas.

#3. Research helps you know what you’re up against

In business, you’ll have competition. Researching your competitors and what they’re up to helps you formulate your plans and strategies. You can figure out what sets you apart. In other types of research, like medicine, your research might identify diseases, classify symptoms, and come up with ways to tackle them. Even if your “enemy” isn’t an actual person or competitor, there’s always some kind of antagonist force or problem that research can help you deal with.

#4. Research builds your credibility

People will take what you have to say more seriously when they can tell you’re informed. Doing research gives you a solid foundation on which you can build your ideas and opinions. You can speak with confidence about what you know is accurate. When you’ve done the research, it’s much harder for someone to poke holes in what you’re saying. Your research should be focused on the best sources. If your “research” consists of opinions from non-experts, you won’t be very credible. When your research is good, though, people are more likely to pay attention.

#5. Research helps you narrow your scope

When you’re circling a topic for the first time, you might not be exactly sure where to start. Most of the time, the amount of work ahead of you is overwhelming. Whether you’re writing a paper or formulating a business plan, it’s important to narrow the scope at some point. Research helps you identify the most unique and/or important themes. You can choose the themes that fit best with the project and its goals.

#6. Research teaches you better discernment

Doing a lot of research helps you sift through low-quality and high-quality information. The more research you do on a topic, the better you’ll get at discerning what’s accurate and what’s not. You’ll also get better at discerning the gray areas where information may be technically correct but used to draw questionable conclusions.

#7. Research introduces you to new ideas

You may already have opinions and ideas about a topic when you start researching. The more you research, the more viewpoints you’ll come across. This encourages you to entertain new ideas and perhaps take a closer look at yours. You might change your mind about something or, at least, figure out how to position your ideas as the best ones.

#8. Research helps with problem-solving

Whether it’s a personal or professional problem, it helps to look outside yourself for help. Depending on what the issue is, your research can focus on what others have done before. You might just need more information, so you can make an informed plan of attack and an informed decision. When you know you’ve collected good information, you’ll feel much more confident in your solution.

#9. Research helps you reach people

Research is used to help raise awareness of issues like climate change , racial discrimination, gender inequality , and more. Without hard facts, it’s very difficult to prove that climate change is getting worse or that gender inequality isn’t progressing as quickly as it should. The public needs to know what the facts are, so they have a clear idea of what “getting worse” or “not progressing” actually means. Research also entails going beyond the raw data and sharing real-life stories that have a more personal impact on people.

#10. Research encourages curiosity

Having curiosity and a love of learning take you far in life. Research opens you up to different opinions and new ideas. It also builds discerning and analytical skills. The research process rewards curiosity. When you’re committed to learning, you’re always in a place of growth. Curiosity is also good for your health. Studies show curiosity is associated with higher levels of positivity, better satisfaction with life, and lower anxiety.

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7.1: The Purpose of Research Writing

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  • Kathryn Crowther et al.
  • Georgia Perimeter College via GALILEO Open Learning Materials

Who has written poetry about exile? What roles did women play in the American Revolution? Where do cicadas go during their ‘off’ years? When did bookmakers start using movable type? Why was the Great Wall of China built? How does the human brain create, store, and retrieve memories?

You may know the answers to these questions off the top of your head. If you are like most people, however, you find answers to tough questions like these by searching the Internet, visiting a library, or asking others for information. To put it simply, you perform research.

Whether or not you realize it, you probably already perform research in your everyday life. When your boss, your instructor, or a family member asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, you locate relevant information, analyze your findings, and share your results. Locating, analyzing, and sharing information are key steps in the research process. In this chapter, you will learn more about each step. By developing your research writing skills, you will prepare yourself to answer challenging questions.

Sometimes you perform research simply to satisfy your own curiosity. Once you find the answer to your questions, your search may be over, or it may lead to more in-depth research about that topic or about another topic. Other times, you want to communicate what you have learned to your peers, your family, your teachers, or even the editors of magazines, newspapers, or journals. In your personal life, you might simply discuss the topic with your friends. In more formal situations, such as in business and school, you communicate your findings in writing or in a presentation. A report may simply relay the results of your research in an organized manner. In contrast, a research paper presents an original thesis about a topic and develops that thesis with ideas and information gathered from a variety of sources. In a research paper, you use facts, interpretations, and opinions you encounter in your research to create a narrative and support an argument about your topic.

A student in an art history course might write a research paper about an artist’s work or an aesthetic movement. A student in a psychology course might write a research paper about current findings in childhood development. No matter what field of study you pursue, you will most likely be asked to write a research paper in your college degree program and to apply the skills of research and writing in your career. For similar reasons as professionals, students do research to answer specific questions, to share their findings with others, to increase their understanding of challenging topics, and to strengthen their analytical skills.

Having to write a research paper may feel intimidating at first. After all, researching and writing a long paper requires a lot of time, effort, and organization. However, its challenges have rewards. The research process allows you to gain expertise on a topic of your choice. The writing process helps you to remember what you learned and to understand it on a deeper level. Thus writing a research paper can be a great opportunity to explore a topic that particularly interests you and to grow as a person.

Writing at Work

Knowing how to write a good research paper is a valuable skill that will serve you well throughout your career. For example, laboratory technicians and information technology professionals do research to learn about the latest technological developments in their fields. A small business owner may conduct research to learn about the latest trends in his or her industry. A freelance writer will need to research his or her topics to write informed, up-to-date articles. Whether you are developing a new product, studying the best way to perform a procedure, discovering the challenges and opportunities in your field of employment, or learning about how to find a job, you will use research techniques to guide your exploration. Because effective communication is essential to any company, employers seek to hire people who can write clearly and professionally.

Think about the job of your dreams. How might you use research writing skills to perform that job? Create a list of ways in which strong researching, organizing, writing, and critical thinking skills could help you succeed at your dream job. How might these skills help you obtain that job?

Process Overview

How does a research paper grow from a folder of notes to a polished final draft? No two projects are identical, but most writers of research papers follow six basic steps.

Step 1: Choosing a Topic

To narrow the focus of your topic, brainstorm using Prewriting Techniques. Starting with your topic, formulate a specific research question—a broad, open-ended question that will guide your research—as well as propose a possible answer, or a working thesis.

Step 2: Planning and Scheduling

Before you start researching your topic, take time to plan your researching and writing schedule. Research projects can take days, weeks, or even months to complete. Creating a schedule is a good way to ensure that you do not end up being overwhelmed by all the work you have to do as the deadline approaches. During this step of the process, it is also a good idea to plan the resources and organizational tools you will use to keep yourself on track throughout the project. Flowcharts, calendars, and checklists can all help you stick to your schedule.

Step 3: Conducting Research

When going about your research, you will likely use a variety of sources—anything from books and periodicals to video presentations and in-person interviews. However, you should pay close attention to instructions; instructors often specify what kinds of sources they require for research papers. Some may assign you to only use scholarly (peerreviewed) sources. For some assignments, your sources might include both primary sources and secondary sources. Primary sources provide firsthand information or raw data. For example, surveys, in-person interviews, historical documents, works of art, and works of literature are primary sources. Secondary sources, such as biographies, literary reviews, or news articles, include some analysis or interpretation of the information presented. As you conduct research, you should take detailed, careful notes about your discoveries. You should also evaluate the reliability of each source you find, especially sources that are not peer-reviewed.

Step 4: Organizing Your Research and Ideas

When your research is complete, you will organize your findings and decide which sources to cite in your paper. You will also have an opportunity to evaluate the evidence you have collected and determine whether it supports your thesis, or the focus of your paper. You may decide to adjust your thesis or conduct additional research to ensure that your thesis is well supported.

Step 5: Drafting Your Paper

Now you are ready to combine your research findings with your critical analysis of the results in a rough draft. You will incorporate source materials into your paper and discuss each source thoughtfully in relation to your thesis or purpose statement. It is important to pay close attention to standard conventions for citing sources in order to avoid plagiarism, which is the practice of using someone else’s words without acknowledging the source. Later in this chapter, you will learn how to incorporate sources in your paper and avoid some of the most common pitfalls of attributing information.

Step 6: Revising and Editing Your Paper

In the final step of the research writing process, you will revise and polish your paper. You might reorganize your paper’s structure or revise for unity and cohesion, ensuring that each element in your paper smoothly and logically flows into the next. You will also make sure that your paper uses an appropriate and consistent tone. Once you feel confident in the strength of your writing, you will edit your paper for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and formatting. When you complete this final step, you will have transformed a simple idea or question into a thoroughly researched and well-written paper of which you can be proud.

Writing a good research paper takes time, thought, and effort. Although this assignment is challenging, it is manageable. Focusing on one step at a time will help you develop a thoughtful, informative, well-supported research paper.

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2.8: Why Is Research Important?

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Learning outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain how scientific research addresses questions about behavior
  • Discuss how scientific research guides public policy
  • Appreciate how scientific research can be important in making personal decisions

Scientific research is a critical tool for successfully navigating our complex world. Without it, we would be forced to rely solely on intuition, other people’s authority, and blind luck. While many of us feel confident in our abilities to decipher and interact with the world around us, history is filled with examples of how very wrong we can be when we fail to recognize the need for evidence in supporting claims. At various times in history, we would have been certain that the sun revolved around a flat earth, that the earth’s continents did not move, and that mental illness was caused by possession ( Figure ). It is through systematic scientific research that we divest ourselves of our preconceived notions and superstitions and gain an objective understanding of ourselves and our world.

A skull has a large hole bored through the forehead.

The goal of all scientists is to better understand the world around them. Psychologists focus their attention on understanding behavior, as well as the cognitive (mental) and physiological (body) processes that underlie behavior. In contrast to other methods that people use to understand the behavior of others, such as intuition and personal experience, the hallmark of scientific research is that there is evidence to support a claim. Scientific knowledge is  empirical : It is grounded in objective, tangible evidence that can be observed time and time again, regardless of who is observing.

While behavior is observable, the mind is not. If someone is crying, we can see behavior. However, the reason for the behavior is more difficult to determine. Is the person crying due to being sad, in pain, or happy? Sometimes we can learn the reason for someone’s behavior by simply asking a question, like “Why are you crying?” However, there are situations in which an individual is either uncomfortable or unwilling to answer the question honestly, or is incapable of answering. For example, infants would not be able to explain why they are crying. In such circumstances, the psychologist must be creative in finding ways to better understand behavior. This chapter explores how scientific knowledge is generated, and how important that knowledge is in forming decisions in our personal lives and in the public domain.

USE OF RESEARCH INFORMATION

Trying to determine which theories are and are not accepted by the scientific community can be difficult, especially in an area of research as broad as psychology. More than ever before, we have an incredible amount of information at our fingertips, and a simple internet search on any given research topic might result in a number of contradictory studies. In these cases, we are witnessing the scientific community going through the process of reaching a consensus, and it could be quite some time before a consensus emerges. For example, the hypothesized link between exposure to media violence and subsequent aggression has been debated in the scientific community for roughly 60 years. Even today, we will find detractors, but a consensus is building. Several professional organizations view media violence exposure as a risk factor for actual violence, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association (American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

In the meantime, we should strive to think critically about the information we encounter by exercising a degree of healthy skepticism. When someone makes a claim, we should examine the claim from a number of different perspectives: what is the expertise of the person making the claim, what might they gain if the claim is valid, does the claim seem justified given the evidence, and what do other researchers think of the claim? This is especially important when we consider how much information in advertising campaigns and on the internet claims to be based on “scientific evidence” when in actuality it is a belief or perspective of just a few individuals trying to sell a product or draw attention to their perspectives.

We should be informed consumers of the information made available to us because decisions based on this information have significant consequences. One such consequence can be seen in politics and public policy. Imagine that you have been elected as the governor of your state. One of your responsibilities is to manage the state budget and determine how to best spend your constituents’ tax dollars. As the new governor, you need to decide whether to continue funding the  D.A.R.E.  (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in public schools ( Figure ). This program typically involves police officers coming into the classroom to educate students about the dangers of becoming involved with alcohol and other drugs. According to the D.A.R.E. website (www.dare.org), this program has been very popular since its inception in 1983, and it is currently operating in 75% of school districts in the United States and in more than 40 countries worldwide. Sounds like an easy decision, right? However, on closer review, you discover that the vast majority of research into this program consistently suggests that participation has little, if any, effect on whether or not someone uses alcohol or other drugs (Clayton, Cattarello, & Johnstone, 1996; Ennett, Tobler, Ringwalt, & Flewelling, 1994; Lynam et al., 1999; Ringwalt, Ennett, & Holt, 1991). If you are committed to being a good steward of taxpayer money, will you fund this particular program, or will you try to find other programs that research has consistently demonstrated to be effective?

LinkToLearning.png

Watch this  news report  to learn more about some of the controversial issues surrounding the D.A.R.E. program.

A D.A.R.E. poster reads “D.A.R.E. to resist drugs and violence.”

Ultimately, it is not just politicians who can benefit from using research in guiding their decisions. We all might look to research from time to time when making decisions in our lives. Imagine you just found out that a close friend has breast cancer or that one of your young relatives has recently been diagnosed with autism. In either case, you want to know which treatment options are most successful with the fewest side effects. How would you find that out? You would probably talk with your doctor and personally review the research that has been done on various treatment options—always with a critical eye to ensure that you are as informed as possible.

In the end, research is what makes the difference between facts and opinions. Facts are observable realities, and opinions are personal judgments, conclusions, or attitudes that may or may not be accurate. In the scientific community, facts can be established only using evidence collected through empirical research.

THE PROCESS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Scientific knowledge is advanced through a process known as the  scientific method . Basically, ideas (in the form of theories and hypotheses) are tested against the real world (in the form of empirical observations), and those empirical observations lead to more ideas that are tested against the real world, and so on. In this sense, the scientific process is circular. The types of reasoning within the circle are called deductive and inductive. In deductive reasoning, ideas are tested against the empirical world; in inductive reasoning, empirical observations lead to new ideas ( Figure ). These processes are inseparable, like inhaling and exhaling, but different research approaches place different emphasis on the deductive and inductive aspects.

A diagram has a box at the top labeled “hypothesis or general premise” and a box at the bottom labeled “empirical observations.” On the left, an arrow labeled “inductive reasoning” goes from the top to bottom box. On the right, an arrow labeled “deductive reasoning” goes from the bottom to the top box.

In the scientific context, deductive reasoning begins with a generalization—one hypothesis—that is then used to reach logical conclusions about the real world. If the hypothesis is correct, then the logical conclusions reached through deductive reasoning should also be correct. A deductive reasoning argument might go something like this: All living things require energy to survive (this would be your hypothesis). Ducks are living things. Therefore, ducks require energy to survive (logical conclusion). In this example, the hypothesis is correct; therefore, the conclusion is correct as well. Sometimes, however, an incorrect hypothesis may lead to a logical but incorrect conclusion. Consider this argument: all ducks are born with the ability to see. Quackers is a duck. Therefore, Quackers was born with the ability to see. Scientists use deductive reasoning to empirically test their hypotheses. Returning to the example of the ducks, researchers might design a study to test the hypothesis that if all living things require energy to survive, then ducks will be found to require energy to survive.

Deductive reasoning starts with a generalization that is tested against real-world observations; however, inductive reasoning moves in the opposite direction. Inductive reasoning uses empirical observations to construct broad generalizations. Unlike deductive reasoning, conclusions drawn from inductive reasoning may or may not be correct, regardless of the observations on which they are based. For instance, you may notice that your favorite fruits—apples, bananas, and oranges—all grow on trees; therefore, you assume that all fruit must grow on trees. This would be an example of inductive reasoning, and, clearly, the existence of strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi demonstrate that this generalization is not correct despite it being based on a number of direct observations. Scientists use inductive reasoning to formulate theories, which in turn generate hypotheses that are tested with deductive reasoning. In the end, science involves both deductive and inductive processes.

For example, case studies, which you will read about in the next section, are heavily weighted on the side of empirical observations. Thus, case studies are closely associated with inductive processes as researchers gather massive amounts of observations and seek interesting patterns (new ideas) in the data. Experimental research, on the other hand, puts great emphasis on deductive reasoning.

Play this  “Deal Me In” interactive card game  to practice using inductive reasoning.

We’ve stated that theories and hypotheses are ideas, but what sort of ideas are they, exactly? A theory is a well-developed set of ideas that propose an explanation for observed phenomena. Theories are repeatedly checked against the world, but they tend to be too complex to be tested all at once; instead, researchers create hypotheses to test specific aspects of a theory.

A hypothesis is a testable prediction about how the world will behave if our idea is correct, and it is often worded as an if-then statement (e.g., if I study all night, I will get a passing grade on the test). The hypothesis is extremely important because it bridges the gap between the realm of ideas and the real world. As specific hypotheses are tested, theories are modified and refined to reflect and incorporate the result of these tests  Figure .

A diagram has four boxes: the top is labeled “theory,” the right is labeled “hypothesis,” the bottom is labeled “research,” and the left is labeled “observation.” Arrows flow in the direction from top to right to bottom to left and back to the top, clockwise. The top right arrow is labeled “use the hypothesis to form a theory,” the bottom right arrow is labeled “design a study to test the hypothesis,” the bottom left arrow is labeled “perform the research,” and the top left arrow is labeled “create or modify the theory.”

To see how this process works, let’s consider a specific theory and a hypothesis that might be generated from that theory. As you’ll learn in a later chapter, the James-Lange theory of emotion asserts that emotional experience relies on the physiological arousal associated with the emotional state. If you walked out of your home and discovered a very aggressive snake waiting on your doorstep, your heart would begin to race and your stomach churn. According to the James-Lange theory, these physiological changes would result in your feeling of fear. A hypothesis that could be derived from this theory might be that a person who is unaware of the physiological arousal that the sight of the snake elicits will not feel fear.

A scientific hypothesis is also falsifiable, or capable of being shown to be incorrect. Recall from the introductory chapter that Sigmund  Freud  had lots of interesting ideas to explain various human behaviors ( Figure ). However, a major criticism of Freud’s theories is that many of his ideas are not falsifiable; for example, it is impossible to imagine empirical observations that would disprove the existence of the id, the ego, and the superego—the three elements of personality described in Freud’s theories. Despite this, Freud’s theories are widely taught in introductory psychology texts because of their historical significance for personality psychology and psychotherapy, and these remain the root of all modern forms of therapy.

(a)A photograph shows Freud holding a cigar. (b) The mind’s conscious and unconscious states are illustrated as an iceberg floating in water. Beneath the water’s surface in the “unconscious” area are the id, ego, and superego. The area just below the water’s surface is labeled “preconscious.” The area above the water’s surface is labeled “conscious.”

In contrast, the James-Lange theory does generate falsifiable hypotheses, such as the one described above. Some individuals who suffer significant injuries to their spinal columns are unable to feel the bodily changes that often accompany emotional experiences. Therefore, we could test the hypothesis by determining how emotional experiences differ between individuals who have the ability to detect these changes in their physiological arousal and those who do not. In fact, this research has been conducted and while the emotional experiences of people deprived of an awareness of their physiological arousal may be less intense, they still experience emotion (Chwalisz, Diener, & Gallagher, 1988).

Scientific research’s dependence on falsifiability allows for great confidence in the information that it produces. Typically, by the time information is accepted by the scientific community, it has been tested repeatedly.

Visit this  website  to apply the scientific method and practice its steps by using them to solve a murder mystery, determine why a student is in trouble, and design an experiment to test house paint.

Scientists are engaged in explaining and understanding how the world around them works, and they are able to do so by coming up with theories that generate hypotheses that are testable and falsifiable. Theories that stand up to their tests are retained and refined, while those that do not are discarded or modified. In this way, research enables scientists to separate fact from simple opinion. Having good information generated from research aids in making wise decisions both in public policy and in our personal lives.

Review Questions

Scientific hypotheses are ________ and falsifiable.

________ are defined as observable realities.

Scientific knowledge is ________.

A major criticism of Freud’s early theories involves the fact that his theories ________.

  • were too limited in scope
  • were too outrageous
  • were too broad
  • were not testable

Critical Thinking Questions

In this section, the D.A.R.E. program was described as an incredibly popular program in schools across the United States despite the fact that research consistently suggests that this program is largely ineffective. How might one explain this discrepancy?

The scientific method is often described as self-correcting and cyclical. Briefly describe your understanding of the scientific method with regard to these concepts.

Personal Application Questions

Healthcare professionals cite an enormous number of health problems related to obesity, and many people have an understandable desire to attain a healthy weight. There are many diet programs, services, and products on the market to aid those who wish to lose weight. If a close friend was considering purchasing or participating in one of these products, programs, or services, how would you make sure your friend was fully aware of the potential consequences of this decision? What sort of information would you want to review before making such an investment or lifestyle change yourself?

[glossary-page] [glossary-term]deductive reasoning:[/glossary-term] [glossary-definition]results are predicted based on a general premise[/glossary-definition]

[glossary-term]empirical:[/glossary-term] [glossary-definition]grounded in objective, tangible evidence that can be observed time and time again, regardless of who is observing[/glossary-definition]

[glossary-term]fact:[/glossary-term] [glossary-definition]objective and verifiable observation, established using evidence collected through empirical research[/glossary-definition]

[glossary-term]falsifiable:[/glossary-term] [glossary-definition]able to be disproven by experimental results[/glossary-definition]

[glossary-term]hypothesis:[/glossary-term] [glossary-definition](plural: hypotheses) tentative and testable statement about the relationship between two or more variables[/glossary-definition]

[glossary-term]inductive reasoning:[/glossary-term] [glossary-definition]conclusions are drawn from observations[/glossary-definition]

[glossary-term]opinion:[/glossary-term] [glossary-definition]personal judgements, conclusions, or attitudes that may or may not be accurate[/glossary-definition]

[glossary-term]theory:[/glossary-term] [glossary-definition]well-developed set of ideas that propose an explanation for observed phenomena[/glossary-definition] [/glossary-page]

  • Why Is Research Important?. Provided by : OpenStax CNX. Located at : https://cnx.org/contents/[email protected]:Hp5zMFYB@3/Why-Is-Research-Important . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike

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What is the importance of research in everyday life?

British university

Chemotherapy. Browsing the internet. Predicting hurricanes and storms. What do these things have in common? For one, they all exhibit the importance of research in everyday life; we would not be able to do these today without preceding decades of trial and error. Here are three top reasons we recognise the importance of research in everyday life, and why it is such an integral part of higher education today.

Research increases the quality of life

According to Universities Canada , “Basic research has led to some of the most commercially successful and life-saving discoveries of the past century, including the laser, vaccines and drugs, and the development of radio and television.” Canadian universities, for example, are currently studying how technology can help breed healthier livestock, how dance can provide long-term benefits to people living with Parkinson’s, and how to tackle affordable student housing in Toronto.

We know now that modern problems require modern solutions. Research is a catalyst for solving the world’s most pressing issues, the complexity of which evolves over time. The entire wealth of research findings throughout history has led us to this very point in civilisation, which brings us to the next reason why research matters.

importance of research

What does a university’s research prowess mean for you as a student? Source: Shutterstock

Research empowers us with knowledge

Though scientists carry out research, the rest of the world benefits from their findings. We get to know the way of nature, and how our actions affect it. We gain a deeper understanding of people, and why they do the things they do. Best of all, we get to enrich our lives with the latest knowledge of health, nutrition, technology, and business, among others.

On top of that, reading and keeping up with scientific findings sharpen our own analytical skills and judgment. It compels us to apply critical thinking and exercise objective judgment based on evidence, instead of opinions or rumours. All throughout this process, we are picking up new bits of information and establishing new neural connections, which keeps us alert and up-to-date.

Research drives progress forward

Thanks to scientific research, modern medicine can cure diseases like tuberculosis and malaria. We’ve been able to simplify vaccines, diagnosis, and treatment across the board. Even COVID-19 — a novel disease — could be studied based on what is known about the SARS coronavirus. Now, the vaccine Pfizer and BioNTech have been working on has proven 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection.

Mankind has charted such progress thanks to the scientific method. Beyond improving healthcare, it is also responsible for the evolution of technology, which in turn guides the development of almost every other industry in the automation age. The world is the way it is today because academics throughout history have relentlessly sought answers in their laboratories and faculties; our future depends on what we do with all this newfound information.

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The Importance of Referencing

Ario santini.

1 University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Tîrgu Mureș, Tîrgu Mureș, Romania

2 Hon Fellow, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

It is imperative that authors of medical papers give fitting credit to the sources that they quote in their manuscripts. Frequently this is not the case, and a wrong, inappropriate or unsuitable citation often blights the quality of a paper. Many concerns can proceed from questions relating to improper citations. These matters may be directed at a personal level or may have a bearing on the general research community. They can range from doubt being levied at the individual’s academic ability, to his/her academic honesty, or even the suggestion of potential plagiarism. Meticulous referencing of sources will eliminate all of these concerns.

The stamp of a good research worker is attention to detail at all levels of his/her research. Attention to detail cultivates good habits and the detail required in referencing and preparing a bibliography focuses attention on the whole research procedure. It aids scientific thought and analysis and makes for better research reporting.

Good referencing includes attention to detail such as correct page numbering, the spelling of author’s names and the accuracy of relevant facts that will be stated in the paper. Attention to referencing not only makes you a better researcher but enhances your reputation amongst editors, reviewers and readers.

An editor or reader may interpret poor referencing as a sign of intellectual laziness, unclear thinking, and inaccurate writing. When you cite sources correctly, you leave no question in your readers’ minds regarding your point. By citing precisely and accurately, the phrase “It is said” need ever be used in your academic manuscript.An excellent bibliography shows off your scientific knowledge. An extensive bibliography is the hallmark of a widely read and well-informed clinician or scientist.

Errors of omission frequently are the cause of a reviewer not accepting a manuscript for publication. By not citing a critical or well-known paper extant in the scientific literature, authors can be accused of not having undertaken an extensive literature review or having inadequate knowledge of their subject. It may even lead a reviewer to consider that the work is, in part, plagiarised.

Reviewers look at the bibliography for several reasons. Attention to detail, with regard to spelling and punctuation, as stated above, is a primary concern. Moreover, the citation method, be it Harvard or Vancouver or other, must strictly follow the instructions to authors as prescribed by the journal in question. If the most recent reference is more than five years or so, this may indicate that a full up to date review of the literature has not been undertaken. A preponderance of references by one author(s) may suggest self- promotion, self- plagiarism, or the selective citation of papers whose conclusion are in accord with those of the author.

Plagiarism is a prominent problem encountered in the academic process and is one of the most common causes of compromising the academic integrity of the author. Sources must be cited in an appropriate form. Copying, using, or the misuse of other people’s ideas, words or concepts, without proper referencing is prohibited. It is not enough to change a few words in a phrase from the source material into “own words”. Changing the word-order of a sentence is unacceptable, as is the use of synonyms. Referencing and references, signify the quality of the work, detail the primary sources and are indicative of the extent of information on the subject. Proper referencing removes any question of plagiarism.

Every submitted academic manuscript is scrutinised several times before it is accepted for publication. The process starts with editors, progresses via reviewers and continues even after acceptance when editorial assistants will locate sources in the bibliography and ensure that the citations are accurate.

Your manuscript is much more likely to survive the rigours of the review process with minimal criticism and positive feedback if all references are contemporaneous, refer to a primary source and have been accurately and correctly cited.

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Six Reasons Why Research is Important

Importance of internet Research

Everyone conducts research in some form or another from a young age, whether news, books, or browsing the Internet. Internet users come across thoughts, ideas, or perspectives - the curiosity that drives the desire to explore. However, when research is essential to make practical decisions, the nature of the study alters - it all depends on its application and purpose. For instance, skilled research offered as a  research paper service  has a definite objective, and it is focused and organized. Professional research helps derive inferences and conclusions from solving problems. visit the HB tool services for the amazing research tools that will help to solve your problems regarding the research on any project.

What is the Importance of Research?

The primary goal of the research is to guide action, gather evidence for theories, and contribute to the growth of knowledge in data analysis. This article discusses the importance of research and the multiple reasons why it is beneficial to everyone, not just students and scientists.

On the other hand, research is important in business decision-making because it can assist in making better decisions when combined with their experience and intuition.

Reasons for the Importance of Research

  • Acquire Knowledge Effectively
  • Research helps in problem-solving
  • Provides the latest information
  • Builds credibility
  • Helps in business success
  • Discover and Seize opportunities

1-  Acquire Knowledge Efficiently through Research

The most apparent reason to conduct research is to understand more. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about a subject, there is always more to learn. Research helps you expand on any prior knowledge you have of the subject. The research process creates new opportunities for learning and progress.

2- Research Helps in Problem-solving

Problem-solving can be divided into several components, which require knowledge and analysis, for example,  identification of issues, cause identification,  identifying potential solutions, decision to take action, monitoring and evaluation of activity and outcomes.

You may just require additional knowledge to formulate an informed strategy and make an informed decision. When you know you've gathered reliable data, you'll be a lot more confident in your answer.

3- Research Provides the Latest Information

Research enables you to seek out the most up-to-date facts. There is always new knowledge and discoveries in various sectors, particularly scientific ones. Staying updated keeps you from falling behind and providing inaccurate or incomplete information. You'll be better prepared to discuss a topic and build on ideas if you have the most up-to-date information. With the help of tools and certifications such as CIRS , you may learn internet research skills quickly and easily. Internet research can provide instant, global access to information.

4- Research Builds Credibility

Research provides a solid basis for formulating thoughts and views. You can speak confidently about something you know to be true. It's much more difficult for someone to find flaws in your arguments after you've finished your tasks. In your study, you should prioritize the most reputable sources. Your research should focus on the most reliable sources. You won't be credible if your "research" comprises non-experts' opinions. People are more inclined to pay attention if your research is excellent.

5-  Research Helps in Business Success

R&D might also help you gain a competitive advantage. Finding ways to make things run more smoothly and differentiate a company's products from those of its competitors can help to increase a company's market worth.

6-  Research Discover and Seize Opportunities

People can maximize their potential and achieve their goals through various opportunities provided by research. These include getting jobs, scholarships, educational subsidies, projects, commercial collaboration, and budgeted travel. Research is essential for anyone looking for work or a change of environment. Unemployed people will have a better chance of finding potential employers through job advertisements or agencies. 

How to Improve Your Research Skills

Start with the big picture and work your way down.

It might be hard to figure out where to start when you start researching. There's nothing wrong with a simple internet search to get you started. Online resources like Google and Wikipedia are a great way to get a general idea of a subject, even though they aren't always correct. They usually give a basic overview with a short history and any important points.

Identify Reliable Source

Not every source is reliable, so it's critical that you can tell the difference between the good ones and the bad ones. To find a reliable source, use your analytical and critical thinking skills and ask yourself the following questions: Is this source consistent with other sources I've discovered? Is the author a subject matter expert? Is there a conflict of interest in the author's point of view on this topic?

Validate Information from Various Sources

Take in new information.

The purpose of research is to find answers to your questions, not back up what you already assume. Only looking for confirmation is a minimal way to research because it forces you to pick and choose what information you get and stops you from getting the most accurate picture of the subject. When you do research, keep an open mind to learn as much as possible.

Facilitates Learning Process

Learning new things and implementing them in daily life can be frustrating. Finding relevant and credible information requires specialized training and web search skills due to the sheer enormity of the Internet and the rapid growth of indexed web pages. On the other hand, short courses and Certifications like CIRS make the research process more accessible. CIRS Certification offers complete knowledge from beginner to expert level. You can become a Certified Professional Researcher and get a high-paying job, but you'll also be much more efficient and skilled at filtering out reliable data. You can learn more about becoming a Certified Professional Researcher.

Stay Organized

You'll see a lot of different material during the process of gathering data, from web pages to PDFs to videos. You must keep all of this information organized in some way so that you don't lose anything or forget to mention something properly. There are many ways to keep your research project organized, but here are a few of the most common:  Learning Management Software , Bookmarks in your browser, index cards, and a bibliography that you can add to as you go are all excellent tools for writing.

Make Use of the library's Resources

If you still have questions about researching, don't worry—even if you're not a student performing academic or course-related research, there are many resources available to assist you. Many high school and university libraries, in reality, provide resources not only for staff and students but also for the general public. Look for research guidelines or access to specific databases on the library's website. Association of Internet Research Specialists enjoys sharing informational content such as research-related articles , research papers , specialized search engines list compiled from various sources, and contributions from our members and in-house experts.

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COMMENTS

  1. Why is research important?

    Research is important because it helps us to understand a specific topic in detail about the topic, which would lead to better understanding and knowledge. Many people have curious about that stuff and also tell us more information that is right now present. It helps in finding new data and making, and in that process finding solutions and ...

  2. 11.1 The Purpose of Research Writing

    You will need a way to put your thoughts together in a logical, coherent manner. You may want to use the facts you have learned to create a narrative or to support an argument. And you may want to show the results of your research to your friends, your teachers, or even the editors of magazines and journals. Writing a research paper is an ideal ...

  3. Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise

    Importance of the title. When a reader browses through the table of contents of a journal issue (hard copy or on website), the title is the " first detail" or "face" of the paper that is read.[2,3,4,5,6,13] Hence, it needs to be simple, direct, accurate, appropriate, specific, functional, interesting, attractive/appealing, concise/brief, precise/focused, unambiguous, memorable ...

  4. 7 Reasons Why Research Is Important

    Studies and Articles About the Importance of Research. In his article "Epistemology," Yale University's David Truncellito identifies three kinds of knowledge: procedural (competence or know-how), acquaintance (familiarity), and propositional (description of "a fact or a state of affairs").. Brain Research UK (formerly Brain Research Trust), a medical-research charity based in the United ...

  5. What is the importance of writing a research paper?

    Research papers are an excellent platform to disseminate a novel finding to a general or focused audience, which may be interested in replicating the experiments; identifying novel applications for the finding, etc., as well as to popularize your research to the world and prevent duplication of the study. Writing a research paper is the primary ...

  6. 10 Reasons Why Research is Important

    Here are ten reasons why research is important: #1. Research expands your knowledge base. The most obvious reason to do research is that you'll learn more. There's always more to learn about a topic, even if you are already well-versed in it. If you aren't, research allows you to build on any personal experience you have with the subject.

  7. 7.1: The Purpose of Research Writing

    For similar reasons as professionals, students do research to answer specific questions, to share their findings with others, to increase their understanding of challenging topics, and to strengthen their analytical skills. Having to write a research paper may feel intimidating at first. After all, researching and writing a long paper requires ...

  8. Q: What is the significance of a study and how is it stated in a

    Answer: In simple terms, the significance of the study is basically the importance of your research. The significance of a study must be stated in the Introduction section of your research paper. While stating the significance, you must highlight how your research will be beneficial to the development of science and the society in general.

  9. 2.8: Why Is Research Important?

    By the end of this section, you will be able to: Explain how scientific research addresses questions about behavior. Discuss how scientific research guides public policy. Appreciate how scientific research can be important in making personal decisions. Scientific research is a critical tool for successfully navigating our complex world.

  10. What is the importance of research in everyday life?

    Research empowers us with knowledge. Though scientists carry out research, the rest of the world benefits from their findings. We get to know the way of nature, and how our actions affect it. We gain a deeper understanding of people, and why they do the things they do. Best of all, we get to enrich our lives with the latest knowledge of health ...

  11. The Importance of Referencing

    Good referencing includes attention to detail such as correct page numbering, the spelling of author's names and the accuracy of relevant facts that will be stated in the paper. Attention to referencing not only makes you a better researcher but enhances your reputation amongst editors, reviewers and readers.

  12. Six Reasons Why Research Is Important

    2- Research Helps in Problem-solving. The goal of the research is to broaden our understanding. Research gives us the information and knowledge to solve problems and make decisions. To differentiate between research that attempts to advance our knowledge and research that seeks to apply pre-existing information to real-world situations.

  13. What is the importance of research essay?

    The importance of a research essay lies in its ability to provide in-depth knowledge, support arguments with evidence, and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in a particular field.. A research essay is a piece of writing that provides information about a particular topic that you have researched; it is about a topic you are not familiar with.

  14. what is the importance of research paper?

    What is the importance of research paper? - 3039192. Answer: The main purpose of research is to inform action, to prove a theory, and contribute to developing knowledge in a field or study.

  15. What are the advantages of writing a research paper?

    The ability to write good research papers makes the publication process simpler allowing for appropriate dissemination of the work in a timely manner. Publications are also critical for obtaining grant funds and for career progression for most academicians. Research paper writing can be challenging for some and easy for others.

  16. What is the importance of recommendation in a research paper?

    You will be able to give suggestions that could solve the problem which is presented in your research paper. Additionally, the recommendations will also have the suggestions how to develop the situation in a context based on your research paper. Advertisement. What is the importance of recommendation in a research paper? - 1438814.

  17. What is the importance of literature review in research work ...

    Here is your answer ⤵⤵⤵. The purpose of a literature review is to: Place each work in the context of its contribution to understanding the research problem being studied. Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration. Identify new ways to interpret prior research. HOPE IT HELPS YOU ☺☺ !!! Advertisement ...

  18. Q: What is the importance of a concept paper?

    A concept paper is a brief paper outlining the key aspects of a study before undertaking the study. It is meant to provide an idea of the study. Thus, it helps the supervisor assess whether the study is relevant, feasible, and worthwhile. If not, they may suggest studying a different research question.

  19. Explain the purpose and the importance of citation in a research paper

    report flag outlined. The purpose of citing is to give credit to the information that you read about. In a research paper its really important to show where you got the information so then others can see and read it too.

  20. When writing a research paper, it is more important to include

    It is usually presented in a neutral tone, without bias. Facts are verifiable pieces of information that are generally agreed upon in the scientific or academic community. It is important to include facts in a research paper because it shows that the writer has conducted thorough research on the topic at hand.