How to Conduct Research
Recently, I wrote a post on Barabbas and discussed how I encountered some conflicting information. I decided to do some research. During that process I found both credible and not-so-credible resources. The thought came to me that some people may not know how to discern if material is reliable or not. So this week I thought I’d share just some basic tips on how to conduct research and evaluate information.
They do teach some of this in high school and in college. So many of you might already know how to do this effectively. Sometimes though it’s nice to have refreshers. You might also learn a few tips and tricks of which you may have been unaware. I think you’ll also find some techniques very helpful when doing some Bible study and research.
Additionally, there may be some readers who find this helpful—especially in our current culture of biased media, people throwing out inaccurate data, and a world full of activist agendas. Even if you feel proficient in conducting research, feel free to watch the short video clips and learn a few tricks for web searches and such.
The CRAAP Test
I teach the CRAAP Test in my college classes. Sounds kinda crude doesn’t it? I joke with my students that this is the method they’ll use to recognize fact from crap! 😉 In all seriousness though, it’s a method used to help you know how to evaluate sources and material. It will help you determine which is good information and which isn’t.
Basically, CRAAP is just an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. This handout by California State University, Chico is one we refer to and distribute in my classes. However to give you a basic rundown of what it entails, I’ll describe each step. Continue reading
The Importance of Writing Things Down
We recently talked about reading the bible on a regular basis (with tips here and how to stop spiritual cramming here). This week I’d like to take that a step further and share about the importance of writing things down. It’s a good idea to keep a journal or notebook for taking notes during our quiet times and even during church. For a lot of people they know writing things down is helpful and that it’s probably a good idea (much like reading the bible on a regular basis), but they still neglect to do it merely for the hassle or inconvenience of it. I’d like to discuss why the benefits of writing things down might outweigh the disadvantages of it.
Writing things down helps the information sink in…
Writing things down takes listening and reading a step further. The simple act of writing forces us to think about what it is that we are hearing or reading and then reiterating that or abbreviating that onto paper. When we take notes it help us to recall the information later. How many times have you written a list only to find out that you didn’t even have to refer to it? But try not writing that same list, and chances are that you will forget many of the items. It’s almost a catch-22. The process of writing things down will help you to remember what it is that you’ve written. Skip the notes and potentially forget—with an added disadvantage of having nothing to refer back to if you’ve forgotten. Which brings me to the next benefit…
Writing things down gives you something to reference…
Overall, the purpose of taking notes is to key in on the important information that we need to remember and to use as a future reference. We need to write things down to remember—even for those with a good memory. Exodus 17:14 (NLT) says, “…the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder…” Jeremiah 30:2 (AMP) says, “This says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book.” Psalm 105:5 tells us to “remember” the wonders God has done, and Psalm 103:2 tells us to bless the Lord and “forget not” all his benefits. If we are being told to “remember” and “forget not”, then apparently it is possible to forget. Writing things down will serve as a reference for those things that we may have forgotten.
I’ve also heard it said that writing things down can also give the Holy Spirit something to work with—a reference of sorts. In John 14:26 it says that the Holy Spirit will “remind” us. Taking notes will act as a reference to which the Holy Spirit may even trigger us to go back and look at. Continue reading