My greatest takeway from Clint Lalonde’s presentation (2018) is that open education and creative commons licenses encourage the fundamental traits of sharing, kindness, and respect.
As a teacher, I aim to model the qualities I want to encourage in my students. If I want to encourage sharing, I need to also share. In Lalonde’s presentation he shares a student’s experience whose professor made students purchase the book they authored. Through these actions, the professor portrays themselves as the sole authority on the topic and students will quickly lose respect.
This reminds me too of my experiences as a new teacher. In my quest to build a collection of resources some of the more experienced teachers would keep their resources or activities under literal lock-and-key. Now, as a teacher with more experience, I find that by sharing resourcing I also gain more knowledge and perspective through the professional dialogue that arises from discussing the resources and activities.
Along this similar vane, I appreciated learning about the share-alike request of the creative commons license. This is appealing as it again encourages the philosophy that seems to have spurred the orgination of the creative commons licence, to share knowledge. Through any journey, we gain by supporting the sharing of knowledge.
In our Introduction to Critical Research and Writing course we’ve briefly addressed the topic of research questions. However, it wasn’t until our session with George Veletsianos that I could briefly witness how the process of developing and responding to questions takes place.
The way in which he paused and asked for clarification after each question was a reminder to me to not rush into the search for answers. Particularly, I noticed that he used deliberate pauses to consider the phrasing and implications of the question. He also frequently responded to the orgininal question with more clarifying questions. These skills help to ensure that the correct question can be answered correctly. In hindsight, this makes perfect sense. Of course you need to understand the question to answer it!
In reflecting on this presentation, I realize that as a new grad student I’m so thrilled by the potential for learning and applying new skills or ideas, that I sometimes hurry past the question phase. I look forward to practicing this skill in the courses to come.
Veletsianos, G. (2020). Questions about Research for George Veletsianos [Audio recording]. Retrieved from https://bluejeans.com/playback/s/PES97xtVyEHk1N21CMu2Nf6cWuxkum7cyWE7yZV9PPdarszJA4QnOQtZNBqC2oid
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask.”
(Albert Einstein, as cited in Luo, Brancolini, and Kennedy, 2017)
In preparing for a research study, it’s important to carefully consider your research question. The research question is what determines your focus and is reflected throughout the entire research process.
Seeing as the research question is so vital, it should be a researcher’s goal to make not just a good research question but a great one. The key factors that I consider to be important in a research question can be narrowed down to the four ‘P’s’: previous research, purpose, process, and precision.
Previous research: A strong research question must be based on a thoughtful and thorough consideration of previous research findings in the related field. The careful evaluation of prior research also ensures that the research question leads to unique findings that contribute to the academic community.
Purpose: A research question should present a clear objective. If the purpose isn’t clear, the results may be too vague or unrelated to develop thoughtful conclusions. Presenting a clear purpose can be done by choosing precise vocabulary. I found Utica College’s “Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Action Verbs” (n.d.) helpful in offering vocabulary that addresses specific outcomes.
Process: The research question should also identify an appropriate scope for the length and methodology of the project.
Precision: As with most writing, clear and concise vocabulary is important. A precise question allows for readers to process the information and engage with the research more effectively.
An understanding of previous research, having a clear purpose and process in mind, and using precise language are four qualities that lead to a great research question.
Luo L., Brancolini K. R., and Kennedy M. R. (2017). Enhancing library and information research skills. Libraries Unlimited.
Utica College. Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Action Verbs. Utica College.https://www.utica.edu/academic/Assessment/new/Blooms%20Taxonomy%20-%20Best.pdf
(Revised June 8, 2020 to add resource for Einstein quote)