Evaluating your research process

Evaluating Your Research Process
The first process in the research that I undertook for this course was to choose my topic - Evaluating your research process introduction. I had a pre-determined list of subjects in which to choose from, and I chose the topic that I felt most connected to, which was the First Amendment. I had to decide, at that point, what angle on this topic I wanted to pursue. I wanted the angle to be something that was a current “hot topic” of conversation and debate. I also spent quite a bit of time reflecting on what bias I might have on this particular subject, and purposefully wrote down what preconceptions that I might have so that I could reflect throughout the process on whether or not I was letting my own beliefs affect the story I wanted to tell. From this point, I conducted initial research into the stipulations and perceptions to the meaning of the First Amendment as it was written. I then looked for other articles on this subject to gain understanding of what has been written on this topic, what studies were done (if any), and what other researchers had concluded in their findings. I then considered my audience. Who will be my target audience?

What would they likely be interested to hear about my topic? What don’t they know? I formulated what I perceived to be meaningful questions. From there, I set out to refine my chosen angle to this topic to qualify that this was the direction that I wanted the “story” to go and that it would be appropriate for my audience. I wrote a thesis statement that I felt was powerful and attention grabbing. I then created an outline. An outline has always helped me to organize my thoughts, guide my direction and keep me on track. I then began seeking out credible sources. I wanted to be certain that the sources I used were reputable and that the data I was collecting was accurate. I verified that the sources/publications were reputable and that the writers would be sufficiently knowledgeable on the subject matter.

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I made sure that I could cross reference facts by conducting more in-depth research. At that point, I analyzed the information that I had collected. I chose only the data that was tightly aligned with my subject so that I could ensure that I was not going to be going off subject in any way. I discarded the data that did not fit these criteria. From here, I organized the data I had collected in a manner that was ideal to the outline that I created. I then began to develop my “story.” I chose what direct quotes that I felt would be powerful and grab the audience’s attention. I began with an introduction that was clear, concise, and would (hopefully) grab the audience’s attention. I then developed the information that I had collected into a “story” that I considered to be worth telling.

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