How to read research

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Reading research: How to, and why its important.

Essential Tools for Masters level Marketers

Reading research: How to, and why its important.

When you have completed a review of literature, whether as part of an assessment, dissertation or problem solving assignment you will have a justified framework / set of lenses through which you can examine the problem/ issue/ situation more clearly.This is why it should never be a random trawl through marketing textbooks so that you can show the tutor how much you know about Kottler (as important as he is!).Any literature review should present theme or issue based thoughts on the areas of relevance toward revealing your critical understanding of the conceptual lenses that you will be using to analyse your subject.The lens (set of lenses ..i.e the perspective) that you use must be appropriate to the questions your are asking. Hence, if your title / question is about the future of a specific industry dont spend a lot of time researching Porters five forces!

And dont spend your time trying to reinvent the wheel, it is better to stand on the shoulders of giants to see what they have done.


Essential Tools for Masters level Marketers

After Skim reading..

Read CriticallyNever assume that the authors are always correct!Do the authors solve the right problem?What hasnt been considered?What are the limitations of the solution?

Read critically: Reading a research paper must be a critical process. You should not assume that the authors are always correct. Instead, be suspicious. Critical reading involves asking appropriate questions. If the authors attempt to solve a problem, are they solving the right problem? Are there simple solutions the authors do not seem to have considered? What are the limitations of the solution (including limitations the authors might not have noticed or clearly admitted)?


Essential Tools for Masters level Marketers

After Skim reading..Do the authors make reasonable assumptions?Are there any flaws in their reasoning?Did they gather data and analyse it in a reasonable manner?What other data would be compelling?

Are the assumptions the authors make reasonable? Is the logic of the paper clear and justifiable, given the assumptions, or is there a flaw in the reasoning? If the authors present data, did they gather the right data to substantiate their argument, and did they appear to gather it in the correct manner? Did they interpret the data in a reasonable manner? Would other data be more compelling?


Essential Tools for Masters level Marketers

Essential StepsRead CreativelyIdentify the good ideas in the paperSee if the ideas can be generalised furtherIdentify improvements

Read creatively: Reading a paper critically is easy, in that it is always easier to tear something down than to build it up. Reading creatively involves harder, more positive thinking. What are the good ideas in this paper? Do these ideas have other applications or extensions that the authors might not have thought of? Can they be generalized further? Are there possible improvements that might make important practical differences? If you were going to start doing research from this paper, what would be the next thing you would do?


Essential Tools for Masters level Marketers

Essential Steps5. Make notes (Use tools like Refworks)

6. Try and summarise the paper in one or two sentences

7. Compare to other works (If possible)

Make notes as you read the paper: Many people cover the margins of their copies of papers with notes. Use whatever style you prefer. If you have questions or criticisms, write them down so you do not forget them. Underline key points the authors make. Mark the data that is most important or that appears questionable. Such efforts help the first time you read a paper and pay big dividends when you have to re-read a paper after several months have gone past.

Almost all good research papers try to provide an answer a specific question. (Sometimes the question is a natural one that people specifically set out to answer; sometimes a good idea just ends up answering a worthwhile question.) If you can succinctly describe a paper, you have probably recognized the question the authors started with with and the answer they provide. Once you have focused on the main idea, you can go back and try to outline the paper to gain insight into more specific details. Indeed, if summarizing the paper in one or two sentences is easy, go back and try to deepen your outline by summarizing the three or four most important subpoints of the main idea.

If possible, compare the paper to other works.

Summarizing the paper is one way to try to determine the scientific contribution of a paper. But to really gauge the scientific merit, you must compare the paper to other works in the area. Are the ideas really novel, or have they appeared before? (Of course we do not expect you to be experts and know the areas ahead of time in this class!) It is worth mentioning that scientific contributions can take on many forms. Some papers offer new ideas; others implement ideas, and show how they work; others bring previous ideas together and unite them under a novel framework. Knowing other work in the area can help you to determine which sort of contribution a paper is actually making.


Essential Tools for Masters level Marketers

Research short exerciseA one or two sentence summary of the paper. A deeper, more extensive outline of the main points of the paper, including (for example) assumptions made, arguments presented, data analyzed, and conclusions drawn. Any limitations or extensions you see for the ideas in the paper. Your assesment of the paper; primarily, the quality of the ideas and its potential impact.

I wont be able to read any drafts of your assignments, however, I will be able to give feedback on your approaches to literature reviewing.

I will set a task this week, asking you to review a particular paper,

Please use the template questions here to help you.6

How do you identify reports of research?Research is:A process of steps used to collect and analyze information in order to increase our knowledge about a topic or issueMost research involves at least these steps:

Posing a questionCollecting data about the questionAnalyzing the data to answer the question

What kind of research is there?

Formal research involves collection and analysis of data Data are pieces of information researchers systematically gather to answer a question of interest numbers, words, facts, attitudes, actions, etc.Analysis involves making sense of the dataInformal research is more like day-to-day problem solving

What are clues to identify research studies?Only in research studies will the authors report the systematic collection and analysis of data to answer the questionExamine the titleLook for words such as research, study, empirical, investigation, or inquiryExamine the abstract Look for evidence that the author collected and analyzed dataExamine the full text (if necessary)Look to see whether the author reports the collection and analysis of data

Why do you need to read research reports?

To add to your professional knowledgeTo inform your position when developing arguments in assignmentsTo improve your academic practiceResearch may offer new programs or strategies to tryResearch may present new ideas to considerResearch can help you learn about and evaluate alternative approaches

Where do you find reports of research?Books (including e-books)Reference summaries and handbooksReports of single studies

Scholarly journals

Sources for early stage materialWebsitesConference reportsProfessional association newslettersAuthors themselves

See Journal ranking list

Ask questions about which journals will be relevant



What steps do researchers take when conducting their studies?

Multiple steps may be implemented at the same time, or steps may be repeated as the study unfolds.

Use the article structure to guide the way you read the reportMajor sections: Front matterIntroductionMethodResultsConclusionBack matter

How do you identify the steps of the research process in a research article?

What is the front matter?Title May contain information about topic, participants, setting, or approach AuthorsAbstract of the study Short summary of the research process

Note Identify who the authors are and their importance

Consider the three is of reading research14

What is the introduction section?

Identifies the studys research problemReports the review of the literatureSpecifies the studys purpose, research questions, and hypotheses

What is the method section?

Identifies the studys research design (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed)Describes the procedures used to select participants and collect dataMay briefly describe the procedures used to analyze the data

What is the results (or findings) section?

Reports the details of and findings from the data analysis

What is the conclusion (or discussion) section?

May do some or all of the following:

Report interpretations of the studySummarize major results of the studyAnswer research questions Present researchers determination whether the results confirm or disconfirm expected predictions Examine meaning of the findings for study participants Compare studys results with those found in other published studies Discuss implications and limitations of the study

What is the back matter?

Includes a list of references cited within the study reportIncludes extra supp