“Almost all research endeavors, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question.”
Dr. Joyline Makani
Claude Lévi-Strauss once declared that, “The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.” Dr. Joyline Makani agrees unreservedly and elaborates on this idea in our next post in the series on the importance of research.
Successful research outcomes start with asking the right questions, because your questions must be answerable. To be able to effectively and successfully gather, follow, and interrogate the evidence you need to ask both factual and interpretive questions (ask: Who? What? When? Where? How?).
As Dr. Martine Durier-Copp noted, research is best accomplished by turning an issue into a question, with the intent of the research being to answer the question. Almost all research endeavors, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. The key is being clear on the question because it will make it easier for you to formulate a research strategy for finding the best information about this question. Basically, first ask what is the issue, what are you interested in or what are you curious about? You then take the thing you are interested in and turn it into a question.
Finding the answer will take you on a journey of discovery. We engage within an interconnected global world where information gathers at an exponential rate. You can find the answers by searching a variety of information sources: books, magazines, journals, websites, electronic databases.
But first, think about what kinds of information you need. Ask yourself: do you need competitor information, financial markets data, news/press releases, definitions, corporate reports, statistics, academic/scholarly articles, or government documents? Once you know the kinds of information you need, you can make a list of all the possible sources in which you think you can find that information.
While research may seem time-consuming, never fear. Librarians are your “short-cut” to success. To save valuable time I recommend asking a librarian. Expert librarians are very helpful at quickly identifying which kinds of sources can be used to find certain types of information.