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The hitchhikers' guide to reading and writing health research
  • Arindam Basu
Arindam Basu
University of Canterbury
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In this paper, we introduce the concepts of critically reading research papers and writing of research proposals and reports. Research methods is a general term that includes the processes of observation of the world around the researcher, linking background knowledge with foreground questions, drafting a plan of collection of data and framing theories and hypotheses, testing the hypotheses, and finally, drafting or writing the research to evoke new knowledge. These processes vary with the themes and disciplines that the researcher engages in; nevertheless, common motifs can be found. In this paper, we propose three methods are interlinked: a deductive reasoning process where the structure of the thought can be captured critically; an inductive reasoning method where the researcher can appraise and generate generalisable ideas from observations of the world; and finally, abductive reasoning method where the world can be explained or the phenomena observed can be explained or be accounted for. This step or reasoning is also about framing theories, testing and challenging established knowledge or finding best theories and how theories best fit the observations. We start with a discussion of the different types of statements that one can come across in any scholarly literature or even in lay or semi-serious literature, appraise them, and identify arguments from non-arguments, and explanations from non-explanations. Then we outline three strategies to appraise and identify reasonings in explanations and arguments. We end with a discussion on how to draft a research proposal and a reading/archiving strategy of research.