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Chapter 1

11:709:493 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Individual Thought Patterns

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McGregor Chapter 1
Understanding and Evaluating Research
Critical Research Library
Research Defined
- Early Modern French: “to examine closely, to see, to look
- Old French: “to seek for”
- Research is an intensive, concentrated search for knowledge
- It is a systematic investigation in order to compile data,
to interpret the data, and to reach new conclusions and to
create new knowledge
- Research adheres to a set of strict protocols and long-
established structures and conventions, informed by
particular methodologies and attendant methods
o Failure to follow these protocols will prevent
research from being accepted and taken seriously; the
subsequent results of findings will also sully the
body of knowledge
Literacy Defined
- Latin: “educated, learned”
- To be literate means one is knowledgeable or educated in a
specified area; in this case, the area of research (one has
the quality of being educated or learned)
- To be literate means one has the ability to recognize and
understand ideas; in this case, ideas about research
Research Literacy and Research Capable
- Research literacy: understanding research language and its
application to practice
o it is a foundational building block of research

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Research capacity: the ability to design and
conduct research studies
- Another way to view research literacy:
o Think of it in terms of understanding and skills
needed to become an informed and critical “consumer”
(reader) of the research literature that is already
o Once this ability to critically consume (read)
research is accomplished, one would then have the
option of continuing to refine those understandings
and skills needed to function as an active researcher
(i.e. become a producer of new research)
Why Be Research Literate?
- Builds confidence in how to be both a consumer (critical
reader) of and producer of research; this confidence
predisposes people to continue to remain current
- Removes the fear of not being able to critically assess a
piece of research
- Encourages critical thinking (allows questioning
underlying, often unarticulated, assumptions and
- Helps people to be able to critique (reveal power), even
criticize (find fault with) data, information and their
Criticize vs Critque
- Criticize: finding fault with the research process,
arguments or report (errors, mistakes, imperfections,
omissions, etc)
- Critique: assessing the strength of arguments and their
supportive evidence, including the authors interpretations
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