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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Research Papers

When I was in school, I wrote a lot of research papers. I thought I knew how to research; I always did very well grade-wise. Lately I've been thinking that I want to improve myself in several areas. I want to keep learning. I've been learning a lot by reading. I read books, blogs, etc. But that's a very passive learning. Sure, reading is an essential part of researching. But reading just for reading's sake doesn't make you actively participate. You learn what is put in front of you, the end. You might think about it later. It might even inspire you to start doing some research. But until you put an active hand in your learning and choosing what you read, it isn't research.

I've thought about it a lot for scripture study. You know, the difference between reading the scriptures and studying the scriptures. But I'm not exactly sure how I want to approach that. So I never really do it. I just passively read.

I've been learning a lot lately about the female body and all the beautiful things it does and is capable of doing. I've been a little more active in this lately. Not by much. But I have been actively finding blogs and books to read that are pertinent.

On the same note, I just stumbled upon an amazing blog called Women in the Scriptures. I read the first post and couldn't stop. Soon it was added to my Google Reader and shared with my sister. I love to learn about women. Call me sexist if you want, but I prefer to think that I am learning more about myself by learning more about other women. How can I expect to teach my daughters about gender roles and to love being female if I don't truly understand it myself?

I've been wanting to cook better. I want to be healthier. I want to know what ingredients do what. What are the chemical reactions? When can I substitute different ingredients and when are certain ingredients vital? What can I substitute with? This is actually the idea that got me thinking about research papers. I could learn about different ingredients by picking one, then researching it. This is also the idea that made me realize that I have no idea how to research anymore.

I no longer have the BYU library within walking distance. I do have the Internet, of course, but how do I know what is legit and what is not? Are there specific websites to go to for my questions?

I used to write papers by getting a topic, going to the library, finding a handful of books, skimming until I found the information I wanted, then writing a paper. I could write some pretty good papers that way. And I did even learn things. But now that I think back on it, my goal was to get a good grade on a paper. It was never to actually learn what I was writing about. I think that was a huge problem in my schooling. I never did find a major that was so exciting to me that I went to class to specifically learn. I learned a lot in my many (ahem, 12) majors, don't get me wrong. But I went because that's what was expected of me, because I wanted good grades, because I wanted to graduate. I never was so excited to go to class because it gave me the opportunity to learn. That's one way BJ and I differ. He loves to learn. Ok… getting off topic. This is another post, I think.

So now that I want to learn, now that my perspective has changed, I'm completely befuddled about how I should go about researching. The world of resources just seems so vast. I don't even know what all of my resources are!

Today I listened to several conference talks that made me realize that I need to study the scriptures more. Actually study. I need to pick a topic and study it. I think I'll probably write a talk or a research paper or something. Somehow take the stuff I learn and put it down in an organized fashion. Perhaps you'll see some of it on this blog… we'll see.

But as I stop and think about it, I'm alarmed at how much I don't know. How many resources are out there that I don't know anything about. I'll start with the scriptures first, of course. I mean, what good does it do to study a topic without reading what the scriptures say? But I want to really research. I want to read books on those topics. I want to read what prophets have said about it.

I suppose I'll just have to start. Hopefully the art of research will come back to me. But hopefully this time with a different outlook.


Tiffany said...

That's awesome, Tianna. I've always admired that about you, that you are always researching and learning. You're a wealth of information and advice. Once again, thanks for sharing that website!

Brooklyn said...

This has been my mindset of late, as well. We'll have to keep each other accountable :)