Research Methods

Submitted By cashmonuy
Words: 9468
Pages: 38

09 / 25 / 08
Thursday, September 25, 2008
11:06 AM

• Communication 88 - Research Methods
• Research Paper
○ Start Early with your group and do things in ORDER
○ Understand your project
○ Practice thinking and speaking like a scientist
○ Policy: Due at Lecture, Tues before Thanksgiving
• Tips for Success
○ Don't blow off the easy stuff (research practicum, session exercises, etc.)
○ Lecture and Session
 Attend, pay attention, and take detailed notes
○ Readings
 Pull out important points from under each heading (not just definitions of terms)
○ Take time to digest material each week and get help early

• Course Website
○ Go to, link from there
○ Login, need U-Mail account
○ Online data web tool
 Help for group research projects
• Comments and Pressures
○ Extra curricular activities (jobs, athletics, etc.) often mean missed class and limited time to devote to studies, so:
 Do not over-extend yourself with outside responsibilities
• Ways of Knowing
○ Some "Truths" -- How do you know?
 It is not raining outside
□ I was just outside
□ Weather rarely changes so quickly… it was just sunny
□ No clouds, or getting wet.
□ How is water associated with rain? Past experience.
□ Weather forecast said it wouldn't

Communications 88 Page 1

09 / 30 / 08
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
11:08 AM

• Ways of Knowing (continued)
○ Vegetables are good for you
 Doctors say so
 Studies conducted which show (SCIENCE!!!)
 Media / Papers / Trainers, etc.
 Mom
○ People who are similar to each other tend to like each other
 Comm. 1
 Personal Experience
 Reasoning (must be the case because you can suspect why)
○ Also known as "Epistemology" (the science of knowing)

• Some "Everyday" Ways of Knowing
○ There are four ways we get through life, typically. (what do we eat, wear, who do we be friends with)
○ All have pros and cons for getting to real knowledge
○ 1) Method of tradition / tenacity
 "it's true because it's always been true"
 Tenacity = stubborn, won't give up (truths which stay around despite evidence = urban legend)
□ Tofurkey = the tofu turkey for Thanksgiving even though no one knows why Turkey
 Pro: you can operate on it, most will
 Con: what if it was wrong back then too? Can do things just because its tradition.
○ 2) Method of Authority
 Precedent = a way to keep rules/laws stable
 "Something is true because someone who has power told us it is"
 Personal Trainer, Weather Channel, Newspaper, Surgeon General, etc.
 Pro: you don't have to look it up yourself, centralized information
 Con: they could be wrong (misdiagnosis?) could be competing authorities
 Trick is finding out which is good information and what isn't
○ 3) Method of Intuition and Logic
 "you get to truth by reasoning it out" "right because it makes sense" "that's probably the case"
 Breaks down into two sub-categories
□ Surface level: "common sense" (dumbed down version) (well duh, what else would be?) might make sense to you, but not valid for everyone
□ More Rigorous: "Platonic Idealism" = way to get to truth is to do a large amount of rational thinking and have to challenge your logic in debate with other people. Can't do observation with your senses, but have to sit, find your premises, and check. Could still be wrong… logic may be right, but premises could be wrong
○ 4) Method of Experience / Observation
 "I know because I have seen it with my eyes, heard it" "see/hear/taste it to believe it"
 Problem: we often just see things incorrectly or only see what we want to see
 Making connections that may or may not be there
 Also called "Baconian Empiricism" = if you are doing observations properly that's better
□ Empiricism = good observations, rigorous, collect data
• Problems with "Everyday" Ways of Knowing
○ Illogical Reasoning
 Sometimes what sounds logical really isn't
 Gambler Fallacy: well I've been losing, so I