How to do good research?
March 24, 2011 4:39 PM Subscribe
Please help me figure out how to do better research.
posted by SpacemanStix to education (6 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I'm working on a PhD in the humantities, and I have been getting some consistent feedback on my papers that has been making me realize that I need some help. One is that I tend to "tell" more than "show" that something is the case. The other is that I tend to lean a bit too much on secondary sources at times. Instead of engaging them in conversation, I tend to use them too uncriticially.
I understand this in theory. However, in practice, I'm not sure when this is appropriate and when it is not. At some point, scholars lean a bit on the people who have gone prior, without having to reprove the wheel every time. Somteimes I want to be able to make assumptions that don't need an insane level of analysis.
I feel that on some level, I'm actually emulating what I see in the literature, but that the expectations are higher than things that have been published. Might this actually be the case?
So what, then, makes a good researcher at the PhD level, especially in the humanities? I know that this is likely program specific, but any advice would be helpful, either personal insight or resources that I could read. I'm not sure that I need a "how to" book on how to conduct research, as much as I do a primer on scholarly tone and how to engage secondary sources in a way that is critical and reflects unique contributions to the discussion.