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Introduction to Primary Research: Observations, Surveys, and Interviews

Author: 
Driscoll, Dana Lynn
Series Edition: 
Vol. 2

Research projects where students are asked to gather first-hand data are a common occurrence in first year writing courses (FYC). However, FYC students may struggle with the ethical and practical issues of collecting, analyzing, and writing about survey results, interviews, and observations. This chapter introduces definitions of research from an interdisciplinary perspective, examines ethical considerations, and compares the research process to the writing process. The chapter concludes with information about writing from primary research, including integrating research and creating visuals. Two student examples--a nutrition observation/survey project and a agricultural and biological engineering interview project--are provided to give students concrete examples.  

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