Learning about research skills and methods at university will outline various research methods and provides a comprehensive tutorial of how to check the credibility of a source as well as filter and refine searches to ensure that you find the appropriate literature.
In addition to familiarising you with best practice research procedures, you will also extensively cover critical thinking as a valuable component of research.
The module will introduce a multitude of research skills that you might not have considered prior to your participation. The research course will build on key reasoning, argument and analysis skills, improved planning and research habits as well as developing key skills sought by graduate courses.
If you are carrying out your studies online then you can still do a lot of work on your development by practising your academic writing and reading information published in other academic journals. You could also practice your data visualisation skills so that you have a more clear analysis in your own research.
Reading data is one of the most important research skills that you will learn in your university education. Your data analysis module will introduce you to basic graph reading and writing in a more concise manner, but conducting your own analysis will help your learning and development the most.
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About research skills and methods
How you handle information is a key consideration within research, you shouldn’t accept any information at face value and should always question the quality, credibility and intentions of a source and competing views.
It is important to search broadly before narrowing a down a search. Making time to first explore the wider context, and how the respective sources fit into the bigger picture.
It is imperative to consider the limitations of your evidence, asking ‘what doesn’t it tell me’ or ‘what hasn’t been measured’ is often an effective means of understanding what story your research tells.
It is equally important within critical thinking to maintain a certain self-awareness and often ask questions of the research you are conducting or reading. Such questions, I found to be particularly useful and interesting to learn are what exactly are the intentions of the research? What metrics or scale is being applied and has it been accurately measured?
Having an open mind is also important when conducting research, particularly when focusing your scope of work and having awareness of what others have or haven’t found out in the respective area.
Perhaps one of the most valuable learnings that will resonate with you is the concept of thinking twice, and the concept of thinking fast and slow.
Particularly when approaching an unfamiliar topic, slowing down and weighing out the situation can often provide clarity and will certainly be of value to you when conducting primary research as part of the practicum module over the final semester.
Conducting your own analysis or research on a social issue that you are interested in learning more about will go a long way. There will be a great deal of information available in your university library for you to start reading.
You should then decide on your research methods, brush up on your academic writing and decide how you are going to conduct your analysis and what data you will need to find for your studies.
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What else will you learn about research?
You will pick up some particularly valuable research skills which although simple, will save you a copious amount of time in your practicum and future assignments.
You will learn how to effectively navigate the college library data base and other research indexes and how to refine your searches such that you are presented with the most suitable and credible sources on my respective topic.
This particularly useful as you might have occasionally included sources which were deemed by lecturers to be sub optimal on occasion, as you didn’t put the necessary practice into refining and selecting published literature.
If you are like me then you often would use a simple google scholar search for journals, giving little thought as to who published the work, how credible the findings were, how the research was conducted, what metrics or measures were used or what was the angle for the research in the first place.
As I mentioned, however simple, this will be one of your more valued learnings firstly because of its practicality, but also because it can really lead to you understanding the role of critical thinking within research.
Applying critical thinking to your research practice has taught me to investigate the potential presence of a perceived bias in my research papers, this is a crucial step for research which I had neglected prior to the activity and will subsequent strengthen the validity of your work going forward.
You will notice that the higher quality journals and research from accredited publishers is more coherent and engaging to read which has had some impact on your enjoyment of research.
You can attribute this to the elimination of the tedious process of scanning countless journals that, let’s face it often leave you with more questions than answers. It’s important that you hold your sources to as high of a standard as my work.
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Improving your research and critical thinking skills
The premise of critical thinking within research involves asking questions of academic literature to arrive at an informed decision as to the credibility of the respective journal. It is reassuring to learn that some of your surface learnings from your course are echoed throughout the literature.
You will be able to analyse sources on their objective, purpose and metrics. Critical thinking means that you should be able to logically evaluate all research, even the research you find most appealing, removing any bias and ensuring your work compiles of credible and relevant sources to your research question.
Critical thinking is considered to be one of the central requirements and desired outcomes in Western universities. With many third level education systems structured to facilitate developing critical thinking throughout their transformation process.
Critical Thinking mitigates the occurrence of many errors. Some of the biggest downfalls of university students in a tentative process involving stumbles, mimicking and, in writing, hiding behind the words of others.
The absence of critical thinking often leaves students forcing information into their work, paraphrasing arguments to mean something inherently different then the author may have intended.
This stresses the importance of refined searches introduced in the Library workshop such that the academic literature and research paper are approached largely from the same research angle. Otherwise what is typical at undergraduate level is where students often resort to patchwriting where pieces of readings are put together as one.
Take a look at how you can conduct your own research at university.
Learning from other students in your course
Perhaps there are students in your course that have completed studies in another education institution and already have strong reading, writing, data analysis skills or know exactly what sort of methods they are going to employ in their academic studies or projects.
Learning isn’t a race so try not to get too caught up in what other students are doing. You can do better in your studies, if you conduct a solid analysis, improve your data visualisations and overall academic development.
We are not robots, so make sure to do this while maintaining a social life and good grades in other modules.
Being social with other students in your course is a great way to improve your development and you could even compare the methods, data or information from your own analysis to improve your learning!
Improving your research skills at university can be tough. Most students don’t know where to look for more information on how to get started with their learning.
Research skills actually extends to academic writing, reading data and conducting an analysis on your learning.
How you go about collecting data for your research will depend on your respective studies, whether you will be doing your study online, what areas of development you are learning about.
If you are looking for some more information on how to improve your research skills then click here to start reading more!
Improve your research skills with Superprof
You should consider implementing these skills within the primary research that you will be conducting as part of your dissertation or practicum project over the summer. Given the value that you will get from the taking a workshop or research course.
You should also plan to further develop these competencies in the future and believe they will help significantly in your career path.
Perhaps the most effective way that you could go about improving these skills is by reaching out to one of the tutors which offer their services on the Superprof platform.
You will be able to get expert advice and have an experienced mentor to guide you along in your research.
Learning from a qualified Superprof statistics tutor is a great way to get a hand with any sort of research project that you might be taking.
Superprof makes the research process particularly easy for students, the platform gives you the opportunity to refine your search according to your own personal needs. You will be able to shortlist any business tutors according to their suitability across categories such as affordability, level and proximity.
Why not start learning about research skills and methods today?
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