If youve ever written a paper for one of your classes and had to cite sources

If youve ever written a paper for one of your classes

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Most of what we consider “research” falls into the category of secondary research. If you’ve ever written a paper for one of your classes and had to cite sources, then you’ve conducted secondary research. Secondary research is when you report the results of someone else’s primary research. If you read an academic article about an experiment that a group of researchers conducted and then tell your audience about that study, you are delivering information secondhand to your audience. You as the speaker did not conduct the study, so you are reporting what someone else has written. One place where secondary research can get people into trouble is when they attempt to use someone else’s secondary research. In a book titled Unleashing the Power of PR: A Contrarian’s Guide to Marketing and Communication, Mark Weiner cites research conducted by 158
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the investment firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson Partners. It might be tempting to leave out Weiner’s book and just cite the Veronis Suhler Stevenson Partners’ research instead. While this may be easier, it’s not exactly ethical. Mark Weiner spent time conducting research and locating primary research; when you steal one of his sources, it’s like you’re stealing part of the work he’sdone. Your secondary research should still be yourresearch. If you haven’t laid eyes on the original study (e.g., Veronis Suhler Stevenson Partners’ study), you shouldn’t give your audience the impression that you have. An exception to this rule is if you are citing a translation of something originally written in a foreign language—and in that case, you still need to mention that you’re using a translation and not the original. Aside from the ethics of telling your audience where you got your information, you need to be aware that published sources sometimes make mistakes when citing information, so you could find yourself incorrectly providing information based on a mistake in Weiner’s book. Think of it like the old game of “Telephone,” in which you tell one person a phrase, that person turns to the next person and repeats the phrase, and by the time thirty people have completed the process, thefinal phrase doesn’t remotely resemble the original. When people pass information along without verifying it themselves, there is always an increased likelihood of error. KEY TAKEAWAYSResearch is a fascinating and fun process because it allows us to find answers to questions, it exposes us to new ideas, and it can lead us to pursue new activities. Primary and secondary sources are quite common in research literature. Primary research is where the author has conducted the research him or herself and secondary research is when an author reports on research conducted by others. EXERCISES1Make a list of research projects you have conducted in your academic career. Did your research help revise facts, theories, or applications?2With a group of classmates, identify when it is better to use primary research and when it is better to use secondary research. 159
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7. 2 Developing a Research Strategy LEARNING OBJECTIVES 1 Differentiate between research time and speech preparation time.
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