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Critical Thinking Questions

Describe What You Consider the Advantages and Disadvantages of A Computer Search of ERIC And Other Databases, as Compared to Other Search Methods?

Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) refers to a public information system structured to offer constant accessibility to a wide literature on education (Biddle, 2004). The largest education database in the universe lies at the heart of ERIC. The database comprises of more than one million records of peer reviewed journal articles, curriculum, teaching guides, conference papers and research reports among other educational sources. However, the system has both advantages and drawbacks. The first key advantage of the ERIC districted system is that it provides a variety of search engines from which a researcher can choose. In this regard, CIJE and other databases integrate all peer reviewed journal articles in the field being studied. The second advantage is that the system has relatively few bottlenecks when searching the database (Hamilton, 2004). In addition, a computer search of databases is indexed, which makes it relatively easy to locate materials; for instance, one can search using topics, authors, or dates. On the other hand, the primary limitation of the system is that it poses the difficulty of using statistics, especially in this time of accountability (Hamilton, 2004). For example, some organizations rarely keep records, while others do not feel comfortable to reveal proprietary market data.

Based on What You Discovered in the CIJE (Current Index to Journals in Education) Article Abstracts, Why is it often Necessary to Locate and Read the Original Articles or Papers Rather than Rely in the Information in the Abstracts?

Abstracts are extremely sketchy and leave out significant details relating to the article. Most abstracts focus on the results sections and leave out the methods used in achieving the results such as the hypothesis used, research methodology, and other relevant details. Therefore, in order to have a clear picture of how the researcher addressed the topic, it is imperative to locate the original article instead of relying on abstracts (Johnson & Christensen, 2010).

Why Are Secondary Sources a Good Place to Begin Looking for Information on a Topic?

Secondary data have already been documented by other researchers in that particular topic. As a result, it is essential to have an overview of how past researchers conducted the study, take into account the limitations, which will enable a researcher to refine his methods and improve the already documented data. Secondary sources of data provide already collected and analyzed data from other sources known as primary sources (Johnson & Christensen, 2010). Secondary sources have various advantages to the researcher of a given topic. The first advantage is that they are economical since they save on expenses and efforts. Using secondary sources of data also saves the researchers’ time since it is not necessary to conduct the real research to come up with data. Indeed, they use findings of previous research to modify a solution to a current problem. Secondary sources also provide a foundation for making comparisons among data collected by a researcher (Mertler & Charles, 2011).

What are the Most Valuable Traits of Secondary Sources?

Secondary sources of data repackage or report primary data. They might appear in sources such as newspapers or magazines (Johnson & Christensen, 2010). The first valuable characteristic of secondary sources is that they simplify, interpret, describe, and analyze primary sources of information. The second aspect is that they comment on and confer about the findings of primary sources of data. As such, secondary sources make primary data be more particular. It makes researchers identify the gaps or deficiencies existing in a particular field of research. In addition, secondary sources of data can be used for comparison with primary data when making conclusions for a research (Mertler & Charles, 2011).

What Do You Consider the Major Limitations of Secondary Sources?

However, secondary sources have shortcomings, which render them unsuitable in some fields of research (Johnson & Christensen, 2010). The first key shortcoming of secondary sources is reliability, which varies over time. For example, the methods of collecting secondary data change without the reader’s knowledge. Readers might rely on obsolete data, especially in this technological era. The most recent data from secondary sources are more reliable as compared to those collected in the past. The second drawback is the baseness of the source (Biddle, 2004). As such, researchers need to be cautious on personal interests expressed in some secondary sources. The third disadvantage of secondary sources relates to the time scale. The period during which compilation of the secondary data took place might substantially affect the nature of the data.

Outline the Strategy Suggested for Rapidly Assessing the Large Number of Reports You Are Likely to Encounter when Reviewing Literature on A Given Topic

Literature review analyzes scholarly books, reports, articles, and other sources of information on a certain topic (Johnson & Christensen, 2010). The best approach to conducting a literature review must define the components and purpose of the literature review. The components in such an approach include an overview of subject; categorical divisions of the area under research; explanations of the similarities and differences between the sources of information, and a conclusion (Hamilton, 2004). In addition, one can adopt inclusion and exclusion criteria basing on aspects such as date of publishing and topical aspects.

Explain Why Knowledge of Statistical Terms and Concepts Enables You to Interpret Research Reports More Accurately

The knowledge of statistical terms and concepts enables readers to interpret reports accurately because it enables them to make sense of the data reported in the study (Johnson & Christensen, 2010). For example, readers of reports are likely to run across explanations of how researchers scrutinized the data they collected.

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