desk based research – John Matthews

Research questions generate knowledge and John Matthews used the analogy of the night sky and the constellations to illustrate.

this is information

this is knowledge

Knowledge is the organisation of information – information exists independently whereas knowledge exists because of intellect and imagination.

A research question

  • collects new information
  • connects information in a new way
  • tests existing information
  • compares one field of knowledge against another

A research question is

  • answerable even if only theoretically
  • a question that leads to other questions
  • a question that might require you to answer other questions before you answer it
  • a question informed by existing knowledge
  • a question that is worth asking

it is not a question that

  • is a yes or no answer
  • a question that will result in a subjective answer
  • not a question that’s already been answered
  • not a question that will only generate information and not knowledge

Case study – Connected Communities, Fiddler on the Roof at the Windsor Jewish Community Centre 1973 – Roberta Mock (2012)

Roberta read her paper that she delivered at a conference earlier this year, the class had to decide what research she’d done in order to make the paper. Interestingly a class in their 20’s had to come to terms with the fact that in 1973 there were no digital clips or even video clips to research from.

  • firstly youtube for clips of Fiddler – social media gathering
  • oral history gathering with the Jewish community of Windsor
  • Personal recollections
  • critiques of the production
  • a book about the history of Jews in Windsor which gave her population stats
  • plus an historical background into the culture at the time and what was happening in the wider world that would have an influence including Canadian political policies (1971)
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