This course guide serves as a research tool for graduate students enrolled in Foundations in Graduate Studies 510 at Colorado State University Pueblo. This course focuses on: effective sourcing, use, and interpretation of scientific literature; scientific methodology, writing, and review of research ethics; and, the development of a science plan.
Research in the sciences is founded on interpretation of data, from experiments and observations. You identify a specific question, and figure out what evidence you need to find in order to support an answer to that question. The question you've identified is not the first on the topic; other researchers have written about it, too. The experiments you design, the observations you make, and your interpretations of all that data are part of an extensive conversation with researchers in the past and across continents, and they open up new questions for future researchers.
Scientific research of course relies on experimentation and observation, but it also requires a knowledge of the conversation that you're entering. Only by acknowledging interpretations that already exist can you present your field with something new. To find these materials, you'll need to find both original research articles as well as scholarly reviews. Your research design may be identical to something that's already been done, but your interpretation of the data (or even the results) may be wildly different. Or, you may create a completely different design to respond to the same question, as a way to find different or more significant results. But only by finding research that already exists can you expand the field.