Sometimes, the problem for my students is not learning the new material, but stepping over their own shadows, so to speak, like this:

  • Objective of Training, Ken Cloke
  • You thought research was something else Maybe you have been taught to write things up and present things in different ways? Well, whatever it was it was good enough to get you here! Now we’ll do something else!
  • Our not having trained you so far In Finland, students are introduced to research skills in the fourth class, but we’re here now, so let’s get on with it!
  • Fear of missing something Moreover, many students arrive prepared to describe an article in great detail, mostly likely as they have been trained not to miss anything, when what it needed here is analysis and evaluation, and means selecting major points and setting aside the rest.
  • Lack of knowledge By definition, surveys are broad and accommodating: you’ll need to sketch what others are saying before you fully understand them
  • Limited, inappropriate note-taking and organizational skills Mere lists, descriptions short of analysis, and simply writing things out once will not help you organize complex data sets and competing points of view: if you have mastered our outlining thus far you will not have a problem here
  • Overcoming ambiguity, ambivalence, and the impulse to see things only one way Surveys represent different arguments accurately and critically, so you have both to see the value of perspectives different than yours and find your way through them: this might be your biggest challenge, because here you will need imagination, tolerance of ambiguity, uncertainty, and differences, as well as skills in negotiation
  • Time Pressure A survey takes time, hours for a short blog post, days for a term paper, and weeks for a BA Thesis, and that means time planning: you will need to commit to starting early and working in a disciplined, regular basis — what we are already doing with our weekly homework and portfolios, and if you do that I think you’ll find this work much, much easier

From The Craft of Research, Prologue

  • Research can help us cut through the fog of opinion, prejudice and experts who know everything and would order us around: research can help us become independent, autonomous thinkers and professionals (and also write our BA Thesis)
    • Researchers form a community which you can join when you learn and practice the basic rules of their game, including the formulation of decent research question, base your arguments on evidence, engage relevant professional and scholarly communities
    • Researchers are by nature detectives and puzzle-solvers, they stick their noses into things and put themselves in the way of discovery
    • Researchers offer more questions than answers

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