research your topic
Delving into published research is conducted at the beginning of this process and it continues throughout as you learn more about your topic. This is an essential step because the research you conduct forms the foundation of your knowledge. It allows you to produce hypotheses, come up with new and novel solutions and it opens your mind to new ideas and information. Despite years of study and research, there are infinite areas out there for you to explore, new and different things to discover. The world is simply awaiting your contribution of original research.
Some people are able to see the world differently from others. They dedicate their life to finding ways to explain their thinking to others and to help others understand and see the world the way they do. Conducting research is the backbone of science and your work. The job you do with research will determine your success and the level of expertise you gain. Fluency with what others have done in this field will give you direction for your work. Reading about your topic will give you new ideas and help you to understand where you can focus. Aiming for original experimentation in your topic of interest is the goal. Here are the steps to accomplish your goal.
- Check Your Testable Question: Write your topic as a question. This is absolutely essential. This question must be "testable". Testable questions are questions that can be used to design experiments and collect data. You need to make sure that you have a testable question.Check whether or not you have a testable question by checking these criteria (all 4 must be present if you have developed a testable question); (1) The question centers on objects, organisms, and events in the natural world, (2) The question connects to scientific concepts rather than to opinions, feelings, or beliefs, (3) The question can be investigated through experiments or observations, (4) The question leads to gathering evidence and using data to explain how the natural world works. (Source:http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih6/inquiry/guide/info_process-c.htm) Here are some examples of questions that aretestable.
- Will different thicknesses of plasticine slow the speed of a projectile?
- How much force is needed to keep water from expanding as it freezes?
- Will the shape of H. pylori increase adhesion in stomach tissue?
- How does robotic eye size affect human trust levels?
- Does online gaming increase social interaction?
- Will the wavelength of light change the rate of photosynthesis?
- Be fluent in your area. This comes from reading and speaking with experts. Talk to your teachers, talk to other students and read about your topic. How do you read about your topic? Here are some ideas: (1) go to the library and ask the local librarian for assistance, (2) go to a University if you have local access and do the same, (3) use legitimate sources on the Internet (ex. WikiPedia for initial information and possible sources), Google Scholarhttp://scholar.google.com , Web Lenshttp://www.weblens.org/scholar.html , Science Dailyhttp://www.sciencedaily.com/or your local school online databases- check your high school for information and scholarly journals).
- Keep notes on what you read. You will reference these notes often. These notes form the backbone of new ideas. These notes are where you will build your depth of knowledge and where you will become the expert in your area of interest. Keep records (author, date published, Internet site, journal or book name, etc) on all information you collect. This includes Internet sites, journals, books, and any expert people you interview. You will need to reference these sources later in your work.