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Notes about how to write a research work

October 14, 2012

Have you ever thought where humanity is going? Sometimes I try to find out how we could define tools and arguments to describe a process which our reality could be understood. That’s a very interesting question for researchers and professors but very difficult to answer for everyone. In my case, despite my curiosity and my previous experience in several fields of knowledge, I realized that I always need a starting point to sort my ideas, my technique and my methods and define a clear target to accurate an authentic research work. To do this, we need some elements that are very important to describe the limits of our work (usually recommended by our Advisor):

  1. An introduction which explains our aims
  2. A central question to be solved by our research
  3. A theoretic framework on which to built a working context round the central idea
  4. A qualitative or quantitative (or a mix of both) methodology
  5. A summarize which present our results
  6. A conclusion

The most important thing is to describe a very accurate approach to the central idea and describe it as the main question. If you can do this, you can start your research with many possibilities of success. The second most important thing is to choose what sort of methodology is the best for your investigation. The common way in humanities is to take the qualitative method rather ethnography – it could also be virtual ethnography, if you’re a social media researcher – and other kind of techniques such as visual anthropology  , interviews and recordings. All of this things generates amounts of data which the investigator needs to tidy day by day helped by his/her field handwritten notes (or electronic notes, if you can use an electronic device such as a tablet, mobile phone or others).

Finally, your results depends on your capacity of synthesis and your abilities to organize and differentiate what is valuable and what not and how you establish relationships among themselves. It is very important to remark that the Dissertation Committee is quite often interested to read only the summarize and the conclusions rather than the theoretic framework and the methodology plan so we need to be very good at writing this sections.

To sum up: why am I interested in research? According to this question, here are my reasons and I hope they can also be yours.

  • Humanities helps you to understand our culture and where our society goes.
  • It’s a way to tidy your ideas and a life style based in knowledge.
  • You can build your particular way of understanding the world from different points of view.
  • It makes you more critical with everything you read, listen, and watch.
  • It’s a starting point to build your own ideas and think by yourself.
  • Philosophy, anthropology, history, languages, geography, music, art, theatre,  and many others are the fields where the human beings have put the footprint of our civilization.

References:

Davis, Gordon B. & Parker, Clyde A. (1997) ‘Writing the Doctoral Dissertation. A systematic approach‘:New York, Barron’s.

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