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Unformatted text preview: WEEK 4: RESEARCH AND WRITING TIPS Textbook Reading for this week: Chapter 6 This week, we are going to take a look at research in technical communication. I am also going to go over some of the common mistakes I see in student writing, and give you some tips for better writing. We’ll begin by examining research. RESEARCH In past semesters, I’ve gone over research as part of a larger module that included other things, like generating ideas and organization. But I discovered that a lot of students were not familiar (also not comfortable) with the kinds of research necessary for putting together solid proposals and reports. I also found that students weren’t aware of all the great resources ECU has available to help students with research. So this week, we are going to focus on research. We’ll take up generating ideas, organization and graphics next week. First, we need to define what we mean when we say “research.” For this class, we will examine two levels of research: Primary Research and Secondary Research. Primary research is basically the technical information or data you create yourself. Secondary research is finding out what is already known, discovered or created about your topic. Usually, you would do secondary research first, then do primary research. That makes sense if you think about it – why do a lot of research yourself if someone else has already done it? So you look for what is already known about the subject, decide what you need to know, and create primary research to answer the questions your secondary research did not answer. Research can also be broken into two different types : academic research and workplace research. Academic research is research done in an academic environment – for a class, for instance. Academic research answers a hypothesis or scholarly question and it involves really intense secondary research - reading and finding pretty much everything that already exists on a topic. Workplace research, on the other hand usually answers a practical question, and involves more primary research. That’s not to say the projects you work on at work won’t involve secondary research – they will. It makes sense to find out everything that’s already been written about a subject before you yourself begin writing your own information or conducting your own experiment. If someone else has done similar work, reading about how they did it or what they found will help you. THE RESEARCH PROCESS: Let’s say you work at a company that does not have a web presence. Your boss has asked you to research and create a web-site for your company. How will you go about doing that? There’s a process to research projects, just like there’s a process for anything else. The research process has the following steps: • Analyze your audience : Who will be using the web-site? • Analyze your purpose : What is the goal of the site? To market your company? To inform your clients about products?...
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- Spring '12
- web sites, Joyner Library