Research and how to do it. 4/14/14

Greenland Gown Project

HI everyone! Well, I am back to it from a family concern and have the next topic for you.

This week I want to share my research method. One of the most asked questions aside from the obvious sheep based ones is, “How do you do your research?” Now, this is usually delivered in the hushed tones of awe.

I have to say my first reaction is to say, ” Why, that’s easy.” but, I have thus far caught myself before I answer in that fashion. My reason for this mental response is that for me it is easy.

I love a good mystery and so my mind is rushing to find the clues to the next question.

I was so mystified the first time the question of how was posed to me. I asked someone whom I know well what was meant by it and the answer came back that not everyone finds research easy.

The short answer is that it is a matter of finding a piece of information and working backwards until I find the beginning. This is a good explanation for those public situations when time and crowds are involved.

I however, find myself with the time and lack of people today. This means you get the full explanation of how I do research.

The first step is to find an interest, something you wish to know more about. This could be something of monumental importance or it could be just a small factoid that you, as an individual would like to know more about for your own satisfaction.

Once the point of interest has been found, step two is to ask the next question.

Let’s use the example of the color pink.

So the first question you might ask is, what is the color pink. To find the answer, you might consult a color wheel from the art store, the dictionary, or the internet.

The question being answered, you might want to know what things it is used to color. Again, you would look for resources that can answer that question.

The next question might be, how is the color transferred to these items. Again, back to the resources.

The questions can be endless. Each answer can lead to more questions and soon you may know more about pink than you ever really realized you wished to.

Now that the research is well on it’s way, there is a great danger. It is called scope creep.

This is when you find yourself straying far away from your original question.

How does this happen?

When you are doing your research, you find a nifty little fact and a question pops up and you follow it until you raise your head and find your original question way over there… You then have to mentally set aside this line of investigation and return to the place you left the trail.

So, did you notice the hunting dog metaphor there?

Basically that is what you become when you do research. You are on the trail of something and it leads you to many amazing places.

Next week, I am going to discuss documentation. How to get it and what you do with it afterwards.

Have the best week!

D

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