Amanda Roche
Professor Corley
Honors First Year Seminar
11/ 10/12
Building a Foundation for Research
“Observing or explaining something that no one has ever observed or explained before is
a personal triumph that earns and deserves individual recognition” (On being a Scientist... 1).
The quote captures the excitement and purpose of research for me. At first my feelings on
research was boring, pointless, and scary. I hated writing about research, doing the research, and
analyzing my findings. After taking the time to learn about the process of research I have
become more excited to partake in this community. Instead of shying away from research topics
I am working hard to take the steps necessary to become a researcher. I will successfully develop
the research and writing skills needed by learning how research is conducted, understanding the
importance of research ethics, and setting goals for how I can use my research skills in the
future.
To begin with, learning about how research is conducted provided a foundation for me to
become a great researcher. Over the course of a couple of weeks, my view on the research
process changed drastically. I originally thought of the scientific method and writing a lab report
as quality research. Now I can see that researching goes far beyond my eight am chemistry lab
every Monday morning. Through reading On Being a Scientist, I have learned about how
research is done more in depth. The biggest thing I took away from the reading was the steps
taken to get published works. First, I realized that having a mentor or an advisor is a very
important part of becoming a successful researcher. This part especially was interesting for me
because it will help me find a good starting point for my career as a researcher. After finding a
mentor there were many other parts including picking a research group, recording your finding,
submitting your work to the peer-review journal, and finally getting your work published. A lot
goes into a research project, more than I ever knew, and reading about it made the whole idea of
research overwhelming. It was extremely helpful when older students in the Honors Program
came in and talked about their own research from their efolio. Their talk was short, but it helped
me feel comfortable and more confident that I too can achieve what I set out to do.
Next, the research process goes a step further into the importance of ethics. Thinking
back to my high school days, I remembered doing labs in my science classes. If one of my results
were way off then I would change the result to something closer to the correct answer versus
retrying my experiment and keeping my original result. It never seemed like a huge deal as long
as I received all of the points for my lab. After reading On Being A Scientist and hearing Dr.
Corley’s personal story about plagiarism, my viewpoint changed even on the smallest things.
From our reading, I learned how important research ethics is to the community of scholars all
over the world. If we didn’t have the rule of ethics then the scientific findings and results of the
research would not be seen as credible and researchers would not be respected. It is absolutely
critical that in every step of the research process the researcher is always holding up to the
scientific standard. An example of this is, “openness in sharing research materials, fairness in
reviewing grant proposals, respect for one’s colleagues and students, and honesty in reporting
research results” (On Being a Scientist… 3). The reading also covered scientific misconduct and
the severity of being unethical, however this was made more real to me with Dr. Corley’s story.
Being dishonest includes plagiarism, and that is a very serious misconduct that occurs. I couldn’t
imagine how difficult it must have been for Dr. Corley to accuse a fellow scholar of plagiarism.
It was not easy for either Dr. Corley or the student who plagiarized but it had to be done or both
would be breaking the rule of ethics. This story combined with the excellent information in our
reading has informed me of the severity of staying ethical while researching.
Lastly, as I learn more about the topic of research I have begun to set expectations for
how I will develop and practice my own research skills throughout my years in college. In my
earlier years at MSU I will continue to work on my information literacy and information
synthesis so that the concepts are mastered by the end of my sophomore year. By completing my
First Year Seminar course and writing research papers in my other classes, I will practice using
my research skills. I have already begun this process in my Spanish class since I do research for
our compositions. Now I will apply what I have learned to take my research papers from
standard to extraordinary. In my later years I hope to take what I have developed and go a step
further into original research and dissemination of results. After a talk with Dr. Corley and
through the Undergraduate Research Center I have learned of a research project lead by Dr.
Sandell in the Education field. I aspire to be a part of her research team so that I will be able to
continue developing and practicing my research skills.
In the end, I feel I have learned an incredible amount about research skills that will help
me grow and develop into a member of the community of scholars at Minnesota State
University, Mankato. I feel confident that by first learning how research is properly conducted I
will be able to develop my own skills in researching. Also by understanding the role of ethics
and its great importance in research I can apply that to my responsibilities as a future scholar.
After mastering the first two concepts I know that I will be able to put my writing and research
skills to good use in the future when I eventually begin my own research
Works Cited
On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research. Washington, D.C.: National
Academies, 2009. Print.