Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chapters 6 and 7

Reader centered research is the focus of chapters 6 and 7 of Anderson's Technical Writing text.  When researching for a writing project, one needs to consider how the audience can use the subject matter of the writing, and if there are persuasive objectives associated with the project, how can the research aid in that objective.

Chapter 6 emphasizes the need for a plan when conducting research.  Knowing what questions you want answered and what points you wish to find supporting evidence for will aid you in narrowing the scope of your research and circumvent dead ends.  Identifying the range of information sources will allow you to more fully consider any points you are trying to make and perhaps see links that might not have otherwise been apparent.  Grouping data into logical subgroups and taking detailed notes can help establish sub point and trends, as well as organize the data and provide references for later use.  As always, understanding intellectual property is critical, and understanding how to obtain permission to use material will aid in lending credibility to your research as well as ensuring no future liabilities.

Chapter 7 deals with analysis of data collected from research.  Again, one should always keep a reader first point of view when analyzing data.  First, review the objectives of your research.  Keeping objectives in mind will help guide your arrangement of data and analysis.  Arranging data into a more manageable form especially with graphics, will help identify trends and relationships at a glance.  Using these tools, search for meaningful relationships as they pertain to your objectives, and then interpret these relationships for your audience.  If conflicting or contrary data is present, account for it as well.  Offering an alternative explanation, even if what you are advocating is different helps credibility, and shows the audience you've considered alternatives.
From your interpretation of the data, state your conclusions, and from this make a recommendation.  Recommendations should be free of bias and account for counter evidence.

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