When faced with a problem to solve, seeking out relevant information is a great way to get started (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). In our current era, there is abundant information to be had. Unfortunately, it is not all useful. There is a significant amount of useless, erroneous, or misleading information to be found, particularly on the internet where anyone can put up a website claiming anything that want (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). When seeking information to solve a problem, we need to consider the source of the information. Research reports from peer-reviewed sources should be weighted more heavily than research reports from organizations that might have an agenda (Locke, Silverman, & Spirduso, 2010).
Research reports are difficult to sort through, and even then the chances of finding one that is completely relevant to the current situation are a rare, almost nonexistent possibility, but that doesn’t make the reports useless (Locke, Silverman, & Spirduso, 2010). Even tangentially related studies might provide some ideas, new search strings, or a list of other reports that might be helpful (Locke, Silverman, & Spirduso, 2010).
Before dismissing a report as worthless or accepting them as valid solutions to a problem, we should consider the source, the context, and the information and data presented (Locke, Silverman, & Spirduso, 2010). The type of research would also need to be considered. Basic research observes situations and draws basic conclusions while applied research strives to solve a problem (Johnson & Christensen, 2008). Each type is useful for different purposes.
Ultimately, if the reports are from reliable sources, they may contain useful information we can use to solve a problem. The immediate answer may or may not be in the report, but we can at least gain some information and possibly a lead on a report that better suits our needs.
Johnson, B., & Christensen, L. (2008). Educational research: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Introduction to research [Video webcast]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_4211839_1&content_id=_15119310_1#_15119359_1&courseTocLabel=Access%20Resources
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Steps for conducting research as a scholar and practitioner [Video webcast]. Retrieved from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6173/01/mm/steps_for_research/index.html
Locke, L. F., Silverman, S. J., & Spirduso, W. W. (2010). Reading and understanding research (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications