Research is marked by various processes that are bound to test the researcher’s skills and ability to carry out various tasks including searching for relevant information and triangulating and correlating data and information to arrive at a conclusion and develop arguments. It also tests the researcher’s analytical skills especially analyzing the relevance of information and data collected and interpreting them. Moreover, a researcher is presented with situations that require a decision particularly choosing what to include in each section of the research. This research writing process offered me a unique opportunity to learn various important aspects of research writing while also exposing me to various challenges that researchers normally face.
One of the things that I found beneficial to my progress during this process is how to triangulate data and information. Through the process, I was able to collect information from various sources and analyze them and mentally align them in terms of their relatedness and relevance to my topic. There are numerous resources and information available on the topic of my research. I had to sift through the information and make decisions on the relevance and correlation of the information. This also included making a decision on which sources to use for research and where to include them. I also had to make decisions on how to use such information including paraphrasing and quoting the sources. I have also mastered how to develop a research proposal and how to draw the line between the proposal and the complete research mainly the content and the language to use. Developing an annotated bibliography of my sources has also helped in developing my information internalization and summary skills.
One of the things that surprised me the most about the research process is the difference between the language used in a research proposal and the actual research. I found it surprising that even though they are different documents, they focused on the same issue. The researcher must balance between what to include and exclude for each case while at the same time avoiding the temptation of being repetitive. It is a fine and delicate balancing act that must be carried out with pinpoint accuracy to avoid making mistakes. Additionally, I was also surprised that a researcher should also include an annotated bibliography as a separate document from the research in addition to including the sources and a bibliography list in the research proposal and the final research paper. It was more like developing a roadmap to your research without necessarily giving away too much information about the actual research.
One of the things that frustrated me during the research process was finding relevant and valid sources for my research topic. There is a lot of information readily available on the topic. However, it was not easy finding valid sources. That is, sources that are current, peer-reviewed, and tackled the topic from the angle I wanted. To solve this problem, I reset my research parameters to current dates as stipulated. I also had to critically analyze the sources and ensure that I interpret them in a manner that was relevant to my topic. Developing a research proposal was also frustrating because I had to make sure that I used the right language. However, with further research on how to develop an effective research proposal and with the guidelines provided, I managed to overcome the frustrations.