My Research Experience

I will be the first to say that I have so far enjoyed this class and have learned a large amount of information regarding the research method.  I have never really had a class that focused on the research process.  This class will benefit me later on in my career and with other graduate courses that are taken with Longwood.  In my opinion, this type of class, structure and methods, so be a requirement for all entering undergraduate student and should also be a requirement for all graduate students.  I think the feature that appeals to me the most is the way the professor breaks down each component of the research method by units exposing the student a little each time to specific components of writing a good and credible thesis.

The research method has not been the easiest, but I must praise the work of the instructor and her methods for organizing this course.  I like that fact that we have not been thrown out on our own and have been guided with the use of instructor and peer assistance throughout the research process.  I really think the blog feature has helped me tremendously and I love the fact that we receive constructive feedback after each posted blog.  I also am very glad that I have been exposed to what the Longwood Library System has to offer.  I am most proud that I have learned to research scholarly articles using the various techniques.  This is something that I have never been comfortable with, but since taking this class, I have found that it has become extremely easy to gather information using the databases available to the student.

Researching gang risk and prevention techniques is very interesting to me.  I have developed an interest in this topic since starting my career with the Department of Corrections.  I have to say that I am very fortunate to have the ability to research topics that I can relate to on a daily basis.  Even though employees are required to receive additional training during their employment, it does not compare to the research that I have completed regarding my thesis.  I also think that I can take the information gather in this class regarding my topic and present it to staff members and the community regarding this specialized topic.

In regards to advise that I would like to give my colleges regarding the research method, be patient, take your time, and do good, reliable research.  I suggest taking a good period of time to do research before even beginning any attempts at research paper constructions.  Read the abstracts of each article and make sure it contains information viable to your thesis before reading the entire article.  This will allow you to seek better information in a shorter period of time without getting wrapped up in information not related to the main topic of the paper.   I have found that it has become difficult managing my personal life while working on research, but I am lucky to have a family and employer that understands that my education if very important to me.

Finally, troubles that I have experience during the research process would include trying to find books related to my topic.  Gangs risk and prevention is not a very old topic and has been a thought circulation around the public for years, but many community officials deny that gang activity exists.  I think there is a lack of information written on this topic based this denial.  With regards to other problems associated with my research, I am having a problem reading and understanding many article based on the mass amount of date included in the journals.

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2 Responses to My Research Experience

  1. Lee says:

    As for finding books, sometimes the topics we are researching aren’t covered well in books. Perhaps the topic is too new for books to be published in that area. Given the ease of locating scholarly journal articles and reliable reports on-line, sometimes it’s best not to even worry about finding a book.

    Ed, I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed the course and found it valuable. When I first proposed this course, I suggested that it be required for all of our graduate students. Whether students plan on writing a thesis or not, all graduate work requires the ability to research and write scholarly, academic articles. The first time I taught this, I worried about how to teach writing in an on-line format. However, I have found that the on-line format actually works well for this class.

    I have enjoyed the blog and am glad that you have as well. It is an ideal way to communicate in this course because not only is discussion facilitated, but we are forced to articulate our ideas in writing ALL the time. And as we’ve discussed before in this class, the key to being a good writer is writing–doing lots of it.

    Your suggestion to skim abstracts of articles is a good one. Often an article title looks perfect for our research, but after reading the abstract, it’s apparent that it’s not what we expected. Skimming abstracts and articles is a good way to decide which sources to pursue in more depth and which ones to ignore.

    There’s no quick fix to helping us understand journal articles. As many as I’ve read in my lifetime, I still have to read them slowly, more than once, and take thorough notes on them. Sometimes the process of taking notes on an article is what works best to help me understand the article. It takes time to take notes on articles, putting the author’s ideas into our own words, but the effort is worth it. In the long run you may save time because the notetaking process facilitates understanding the article.

  2. Kelly says:

    I have had difficulty finding books on my research topic as well, but so far, I have been able to locate at least two good ones. I had to get a little creative when it came to searching key words.

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