Unit 1 | What is academic research and why is it important?


In the first unit, we look at the role of academic research and its importance to your learning. We will discuss qualitative and quantitative methods for research, outline what makes a good research question and why, and discuss the difference between primary and secondary research. Within this unit you will start to develop skills in searching for and identifying useful research articles, and we will discuss academic vs. grey literature. You will also start to identify your own research interests/topics and begin to generate one or more examples of a research question that would align with your research interests.

Learning Activities and Assignments

  • Read the required readings for the unit, and view the required videos.
  • Complete Activity 1: Padlet check in.
  • Complete Activity 2: Reflecting on your academic writing and writing an academic essay.
  • Complete Activity 3: What makes a good research question.
  • Reflect on your research interests.
  • Complete Activity 4: Padlet discussions on 1) quantitative/qualitative/mixed methods research, and 2) primary and secondary research.
  • Complete Activity 5: Draft a research question that aligns with your research interests and respond to classmates’ posts.
  • Complete and submit Assignment 1: Role and Importance of Research (Individual).

Activity 1 | Padlet check-in

Find or take a photo that represents how you feel about your experience with research and academic writing. Upload the photo to the Unit 1 Activity 1 Padlet and include a 100-150 word (max) summary of why you chose the photo. View your colleagues posts and comment on at least two. Be sure to put your name on your Padlet submission.

Activity 2 | Reflection on your academic writing

Reflect on your own writing. Please review the following two resources (available through the Writing Centre): How to write an academic paragraph and citing resources APA style. Then, go to the Writing Centre and review the resources there. When you have completed your reviews and reflection, please write a short academic essay (maximum 750 words) that outlines your conclusions with regard to your academic writing. You must include at least one direct quote, and at least two other in-text citations. You should begin your essay with an introductory section and end with a concluding paragraph. Your work must include a reference list which is in addition to the word count. You are expected to adhere to APA guidelines. Please upload your essay to the Activity 1.2 dropbox in moodle.

Activity 3 | What makes a good research question

Based on your readings, videos you’ve viewed, and online research, share, through your blog, one or two key things (point form) that make a good research question.

Activity 4 | Padlet research discussions

Post a response to each of the two questions below in the appropriate Padlet. Review at least five responses for your colleagues and comment on at least two in each padlet. You do not have to login to Padlet, so please be sure to add your name to your Padlet submission.

Padlet 1 question: What is the difference between qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research?

Padlet 2 question: What is your understanding of the differences between primary and secondary research?

Activity 5 | Practice drafting an overarching research question

Now that you have a sense of what makes a good research question, practice drafting an overarching research question. Please post the question in the Activity 5 Wiki in Moodle. All are invited to respond to each other, however your are required to respond to at least two posts.

Activity 6 | Mini-Team Charter (team)

In preparation for Unit 2 where you will be working with your assigned team, please complete the Mini-Team Charter exercise. Post your Team’s Charter in the dropbox at the bottom of the exercise page.

Assignment 1 | Role and Importance of Research (individual)

Complete and submit Assignment 1.