Keeping Track Of The World

Research Methods for Regular People

Archive for the category “Online Resource”

No, You Can’t Multitask

We all want to get more things done. The temptation is to try to do multiple things at once. Unfortunately, research doesn’t work like that. Data analysis and communication requires intense, sustained and focused attention.

Here is an article that provides the evidence that you can’t multitask:

Students Think They Can Multitask. Here’s Proof They Can’t | Faculty Focus


A Distributed Research Model

In the humanities scholars often work independently. However, in many organizational settings our research takes place in a larger setting. Even in the academic environment scholars are surrounded by peers that, while they may not know the specific topic, know much about related issues and the process of research itself. There are many benefits to a more conversational, collaborative and developmental approach to research. For example, research can benefit from collective experience and knowledge, researchers can become aware of prior work in the field faster, research can be divided up based on expertise, and mid-course reflections have the potential to improve the research process even as it is in progress.

In What Designers Know Jon Whipple discusses how his design agency works like this in what he calls a distributed research model. While the analogy is not perfect, and this approach is not appropriate for all types of research, there is much that can be learned from this article about research that aims at practical change in one’s own organization.

Be More Productive

We all want to be more productive. I have found that a careful designed system that focuses on clearly defined next actions of measurable goals is the best way forward. Here is an article that makes this argument in more detail:

Five Reasons to Think About How You Work – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The book that has been the most influential in my thinking about this topic is David Allen’s Getting Things Done.  

Organizational Change and Acceptance

Participatory Action Research is a popular approach to insider research. One of the keys to this approach to research is that it involves those being researched in at least part the process of doing the research. One of the reasons this can be an effective approach to encouraging change is that the success of organizational change is highly dependent on the acceptance of that change by those affected by it. Involving research participants in the research increases their knowledge of the reasons for organizational change and sometimes gives them a say in the outcome. This participation has the potential to increase their support for organizational change.

Here is an interesting article that explores one aspect of this issue:


5 Tips for Creating an Online Survey

Some good general tips for designing an online survey.

5 Tips for Creating an Online Survey.

This short article is inadequate for teaching you everything you need to know but it does a good job of helping the beginning researcher get a sense of the whole process and some of the main issues in survey design.

Social Research Methods Online Textbook

Some of the best resources on the web are free. Here is one that I have referred to often.

Social Research Methods.

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