Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.14. Evaluate information for relevance

ryanrori January 24, 2021

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Once you have collected all the raw information you need to sift through it carefully and consider in detail what you can use and what to discard.

Before we start to analyse the data that we have collected we must review the sources of inaccuracies in collected data.

If we do not appreciate these, there’s a possibility that we would believe that the data that we have collected is perfect which in turn will lead us to place too much confidence in the conclusions that we may have drawn from the data.

Classify, categorise and sort information

Once we have gathered sufficient information or data we need to combine our ideas into a logical sequence. We will need to sort through all the materials gathered and pick out the main ideas and then separate them into the different sections and subsections.

As you have seen previously, there are many approaches to extracting information from a source. If the source is written material, the photocopy/highlight note-taking method can be used. When using other types of materials, like audiotapes and videos listen to or watch the whole presentation first. Next, listen to or view the presentation again, stopping to write down important information. For electronic sources of information, download appropriate files. Remember to write down bibliographic information for the sources you use. 

Now you can organise the information you have obtained from these multiple sources. Arrange your notes (from multiple sources) in a logical order. Develop an outline for the topic. Write a bibliography and include it in your research presentation. As mentioned before, it is always important to tell where you got the information you used. 

Analyse and present research findings

Now choose the best way to present the information: PowerPoint presentation? Report?  

Take note of the following rules before you start a report:

  • Allow yourself plenty of time
  • Never let the first draft be the final draft
  • Write clearly. Make certain that your reader will be able to understand what you are trying to say. Keep your language clear and simple and make sure your arguments are complete
  • Make sure your work has a professional look about it.
Research Report

Your report should provide an accurate and honest account of the facts. These facts should not be “bent” to suit your wishes in any way, or to minimise shortcomings.

The layout of the research report includes:

  • Table of Contents: must show each of the titled sections of the report together with the final page numbers; followed through with the Appendices. This will show the reader at a glance what material is covered by the report.
  • Introduction: should tell the reader the following:
    • What the research project was all about
    • Why the research took place
    • Why the research was worth doing
    • Why the research was done
    • The specific objectives of the project in some detail
    • What the Researcher wanted to accomplish
  • Procedure and Research Plan: lays out the method you selected to conduct the research. The procedure must stress how the specific interactions between science, technology and society will be analysed and how the research plan will enable the project to be completed successfully.
  • Collated Data: All the data should be documented in the collated format
  • Analysis: The data must be analysed to find the solution or an outcome to the project. All the analysis documents should be included in the report.
  • Findings: The information from the analysis should be in the relevant groups. Report on the results that you found.
  • Discussion of Published Works: All literature used during the research and analysis of the project including any internet findings must be documented; linking the research findings to the published information.
  • Conclusion: As many possible solutions should be generated. Those selected should be recorded as your conclusions  
  • Recommendations: You should decide on the best solution to the problem:
    • Your recommendations should be arranged in the same order as the facts in the findings section and the interpretations in the conclusions section.
    • Recommendations should only be based on the information written in the findings and the conclusions sections.
  • References: All references should be in the form of footnotes and a bibliography. The footnotes may appear at the bottom of the page or at the end of a chapter; even at the end of the report before the Appendices. The footnotes should name the sources of information and include those of interviews or verbal contributions from others. You may also cross-reference to additional materials.
  • Bibliography: lists all the materials named in the report.
  • Appendices: contain materials otherwise too long to include in the text of the report, or material that is not directly relevant. Certain kinds of raw data, background material and the like can be placed here. Remember to refer to all material that you have included in the Appendices in the text so that readers know where they are.

NOTE: Double check that the recommendations are linked to the conclusions, which are linked to the findings, which in turn are linked to the procedures. The one cannot exist without the other.

Diagrams, Graphs, Charts and Illustrations

The following principles should be applied to ensure your graphics are of the highest quality and integrity:

  • Focus on the substance or content of the graph and not on the design, methodology or technology
  • Avoiding distortion brought about by the format of the graph is essential
  • Construct graphs that not only present your data in a set format, but they also encourage comparisons between the variables, location or time periods
  • Allow the viewer or reader to discover the levels of detail within the graph.
  • Try to present in the graph large amounts of data in a logical manner
  • Make sure the graph covers a single and clear purpose such as description, tabulation, exploration or decoration.
  • Integrate the graph with statistical data and textual descriptions.
  • The graph must show the data, not your technical skills.

Make sure that you allow yourself enough time to do a good job and pay close attention to details (e.g. neatness, spelling, etc.) These things can make or break a presentation.