Journey Log 4 Research and Credibility




Habit of Mind: Engagement

Before you read my journey log, go play a game we all know. Tetris! (Link below)

You’re probably wondering what the heck this has to do with anything, but Tetris is actually a lot like research in many ways. In Tetris, you flip around the pieces in order to fit all the pieces together at the bottom. There are many different shapes, sizes and orientations for the pieces. So if you’re like me and haven’t played since you were a kid, then it took a minute to get acquainted with the buttons and the game, especially on a high difficulty setting. However, if you’re a rather advanced Tetris player, then you could quickly put all the pieces together even when things get difficult.

Like Tetris has various pieces, research also has many different parts to it. According to an article “Research 101,” the components of research are summed up into the question, data, information, evidence, and conclusion (Chapman 2015). Just as in the game, we are allowed to fit the pieces together however we want. You’re given a starting piece which is the question that you are researching and you get to do what you want with it from there. Down the rabbit hole. Again. In the beginning of the semester we referred to jumping down the rabbit hole when it comes to asking a question. But the key to good research isn’t just typing “the joker” into google. It’s actually a much more complex process than that. For instance, I wrote a paper about the role of the PAX5 gene in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. While researching “what gene is related to acute lymphoblastic leukemia” told me the answer to that, it begged the question “how does that gene cause ALL?” Then I found myself researching other genes related to the disease and what made acute lymphoblastic leukemia different from other types of leukemia and so on and so forth. Research isn’t just one simple little concept, it’s a process, but an enlightening one at that.

Another thing that is similar between Tetris and research is the desire for them. You don’t ever usually just go and play a game if you don’t want to. Engagement applies to research (maybe you’re assigned a research paper in class) in that you choose what you want to research. It requires engagement in your topic. Any paper written without interest is going to be pretty shitty; if you’re not interested then neither is the audience. Why would you ask a question that you don’t want the answer to? In a study done on the effects of source credibility in the presence or absence of prior attitudes, it was found that source credibility and motivation only emerged when participants had no attitude (Kumkale et al. 2010). This goes to show that being invested into your research is just as important as the information provided from the process and is also incorporated into the credibility behind your research.

Just like in Tetris, sometimes all the pieces of your research don’t always fit together perfectly, but it’s still up to us to manipulate them as best as possible to back up our claims. The way you flip the pieces in the game to fit what you need is just like the way you use certain information from your research to fit your topic. However, when you’re allowed to manipulate the pieces for yourself, it calls in to question the credibility of the research and the author. In class we watched a John Oliver video about President Trump and where he gets his information. It discussed how media can be a powerful tool in passing along corrupt rumors. Often times, we’re the ones that are spreading the rumors that we hear on the news without actually looking into the headlines. I don’t know about you, but same thing goes for Tetris. I’m quick to fill a pit at the bottom without thinking about the consequences. That is, until you become experienced with the game. In research, it’s easy to google something and read a headline and use that information to back up your claims. However, once you get more accustomed to proper research you learn how to find credible sources. According to an article released by the University of California Santa Cruz, the publisher of the source, where the source comes from, the author of the source, whether the source is a first-hand account or hear say, when the source was published, and the authors intention and bias are all things that should be considered to conclude whether that source is reliable or not (“Evaluating” 2016). Credibility goes along way with research. Would you trust a 10-year-old to explain quantum physics to you or the man who has a degree in it?

Manipulating the pieces and fitting them together in Tetris goes hand in hand with sifting through sources and applying them to your research topic. There can be many bumps and holes along the way, but you can always start over. Finding credible sources and using legit claims to back up your argument is imperative for successful research. It’s easy to manipulate the pieces to research, but if you’re not careful the mistakes will pile up quickly, just as John Oliver referred to with his Trump examples. Credibility can make or break your research.

Chapman, Chris. “Research 101.” Pentandra. Pentandra Research Solutions Inc. 2015.

“Evaluating the quality and credibility of your sources.” University of California Santa Cruz Library. The Regents of the University of California. December 06, 2016.

Kumkale, T., Albaraccin, D., Seignourel, P. “The Effects of Source Credibility in the Presence or Absence of Prior Attitudes: Implications for the Design of Persuasive Communication Campaigns.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, vol. 40, no. 6, 2010, pp. 1325-1356.

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