DR. ZINA O'LEARY: Core Skills for New Researchers:How Curiosity drives the Research Process.Now, you may not think of curiosity as a key researchskill but it absolutely is.In this video, we will be discussingthe concept of curiosity and passionand how it relates to research, howyou can begin to develop passionate curiosity,
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: and then explore how curiosity hasan impact throughout each phase of the research process.So, curiosity and passion, why are these core skillsfor researchers?Well, they are absolutely essential.If you think about it, research is the processof getting answers to questions that are unknown,
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: and the best thing you can do in orderto drive your research process is to be extremely curious--almost a passionate curiosity.I love this quote by Albert Einstein.He says, "I have no special talents.I am only passionately curious," and Ithink that is what drives research--being curious, wanting to know.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: I've had plenty of students go through researchas an exercise.This is something that has to be done.It's almost like applying a formula.Let's get a research question, let's collect data,and let's do analysis.Well, they don't do nearly as well as those studentswho just really want to know.They want to know the answer.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: They are so curious about why someone does something.One of the things I tend to say is,ignorance is your best friend.Now, what do I mean by that?When you're a researcher and you have an acknowledgmentand acceptance of your own ignorance,it makes you very open to hearing answers.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So for example, if you're doing an interview with someone,if you go in and say, oh, God, how can they do this?You'll get a very canned set of answers for peoplewho are afraid to open up.But if you go in saying, I don't actuallyunderstand how this can happen.Please, I want to know.Explain it to me.Then someone is more likely to talk.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So, a genuine curiosity, a genuine passionfor what you're doing will come throughand will affect every part of the research process.So, what I want to do is work youthrough all the parts of the research processand give an example of how and why passion and curiosity will
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: take you forward.So, curiosity-- curiosity and problem identification.Simple.What is going on here?What is the pain point?When you go into an organization,you look at a culture or a community,you look at a family in a school system-- whateverit is, lots of times, when you're thinking about,well, what is going on here?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: What is the problem?You just want to know, what's causing the pain?What's causing the tension?You're just curious about what is actually happening here.So, that's your first point of curiosity.The second is, can I investigate it?Can I find out about it?If there there's a problem in schools with bullying,where is the pain point?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Who's being bullied?I want to know.How can I find this out?What do I need to know?So, you're starting to really think about,what is it that's driving my need to find answers?OK, so then, if we move to the development of the researchquestion, which happens after problem identification,
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: our curiosity is still driving us.What do we need to know?If we wanted bullying, for example, to stop,to have an abatement in the school system,we want to know, what does the school need to know?Do they need to know who's doing the bullying?Why the bullying occurs?Who are the victims?How long has this been going on?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Is it a group activity?Is it singular?Do they only pick on certain individuals?All these questions, I want to knowhow this works, why it works, how it's happening.Passionate curiosity will lead me to a research question.Hopefully, you're going to be reading as well.So you're reading all the literature on bullying.You're trying to figure out, what do other researchers know?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: And through that, you gotta start asking questions.Wait, wait, there's a gap here in the literature.No one's explained it in relationto indigenous populations.No one's looked at it in relation to an obesity crisis.No one's looking at it in relationto transgender in this area.What are the things you want to know?What are the things you're curious about?What are the things that are driving you?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: All right, now, let's have a look at what evidence we need.If we want to-- if we know what we want to know,what data do I actually need, and how am Igoing to get this data?Where is this data?What evidence can I gather?Do I need to hear from the people being bullied?Do I need to hear from bullies themselves?Do I know to look at regulations?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: What kind of evidence do I need to gather?I need to be curious about that.And so, a lot of this has to do thenwith understanding past research.What is the lay of the land, what's known, what's not known,and what are the gaps?OK, you also need to be incrediblycurious in determining the research methods
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: that you're going to use.What methods will answer the question?So, if your question is, how can a particular schoolslow bullying or stop bullying?Well, now, you have to know what will answer that question.How am I going to find this out?Do I need to look at policies and procedures?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Do I need to look at what the teachers do?Do I need to look at what the students do?Do I need to look at various responses?What data do I need to answer the question?And then, I have to think about my method,so if my method is collecting datafrom these various stakeholder groups,maybe I can't get to all the stakeholder groups.Maybe, ethically, I can't talk to the victims.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Maybe, logistically, I can't talk to the bullies.Maybe I have to just think about policy.So, constantly thinking through all of these thingsbecause you have this incredible curiosity about, whatis the problem, and how can I help be part of the solutionto that problem?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Also, I have to think about my care for the researched.All right, I have to think about,especially in an issue like bullying, what harm might I do?I don't want to do harm.I'm actually here because I want to help.So, how can I care for the researched?Will my research do harm?And to do harm is actually easier than you might think.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: How will I bring up issues?And you think, all right, well, I won't talk to the victims.I'll just talk to the bullies.Well, bullies were often bullied themselves.So, it's one of those things you haveto be incredibly mindful of.How will I care for the research?How can I ensure their safety?And not just their physical safety
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: but their mental safety, their emotional safety.Bullying is a very emotive topic,and a lot of the things you'll want to research are.So, we have to be really careful about howwe're going to work through this,and again, it's that curiosity--what do I want to know?How can I protect people?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: How can I do this in a way that's empoweringrather than destructive?Now, let's take this curiosity straight onto data collection.We really do have to decide who holds the data.Where is the data, and how can I get my hands on it?I know that I do want to talk to the students.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Now, do I want to identify the bullies?Is that even possible?Is that even ethical?Do I want to identify the victims?Is that ethical?Is that possible?What if I put a whole bunch of studentstogether in a focus group, would that work?I really have to think about thisbecause I have to think about all the potential issues
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: in doing that.To me, that sounds really risky, so we need to think about that.We have to really be curious about that.Well, what about one-on-one interviews?Would that work better?What about a survey?What happens if I use a survey?Will I get honest answers?I have to really think about this.Maybe I should pilot something.What about a one-on-one interview?Can I build enough trust so that people will talk?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Am I curious enough to really getthem to understand that I want to know that this is important?And my ignorance, which is my best friend,makes me really want to know so you open up and trust me.And again, it's that curiosity.I want to know.Please, tell me, inform me.This is such a silent topic--
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: whatever it might be that you're working on.So, how are you going to get your hands on the data?Survey, interview, focus group, existing documents--think.It's an investigative game, thinking this through.You have to continue that curiosity and that approachthrough your data analysis.So, let's say you did manage to get data,
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: whether it be survey data, interview data, focus groupdata, you have documents or policies-- whatever itmight be that you've collected.Gee, what does it all mean?You've done 35 interviews, and it's justa bit of a conglomeration of ideas and thoughtsthat you haven't been able to work through yet.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Again, that curiosity just drives it.What data do I have, and what does it really mean?What's it saying?Underneath the answers to the questions that I asked,what's actually going on here?Is there a sense of anger or fear,or what is it that's happening?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: How can I dig through that emotive dataand get a storyline that really worksto answer my research question?Am I just doing--and you can have the same curiosity whenyou're doing quantitative work.There's nothing better for me than sittingin front of your computer programand playing with your data and asking itall sorts of questions of correlations
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: between various variables.Does age have anything to do with it?Does socioeconomic status have anything to do with it?And just trying to figure out, oh, wait,this has a correlation.There's a significance here.So, whether you're working with qualitative or quantitative,really wanting to know is what drives the process
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: of figuring out data.Now, we move on to the conclusionsthat we're going to draw.I have these findings.What are they telling me?What's my overarching story, and does it indeedanswer my research question?That's what we want to know.Now, you would think-- reporting,
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: what's curiosity have to do with reporting?Think about it, how am I going to write this upin a way that is effective, that tells a story?I need to wonder about that.If I just write up for writing up, it'll be boring and dryand maybe not tell the story I need to tell.So, I need to be curious about, well,gee, how can I write this to show the impact of my findings?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: How can I best communicate my results?Now, I'm so into this.I've done all this research.I've got all of these findings.I've got conclusions.I've written this amazing report.Now, I've got to think about how I'm going to get it out there.How can I get my message heard?I have things to say.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: I have things to say that will make a difference.How can I disseminate it?Should I give a talk to the school?Should I meet with the school board?Should I give a paper?Should I write a paper?Now, you can do all those things in terms of,what can I do for my career?But if you're really passionate about the topic,you'll really want to know how you can disseminate it.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: And then finally, finally, your curiositycan drive you to the very end whereyou start to wonder, how can this research experiencethat I've had be leveraged into the future?So, think about all the skills you usedand all the skills you developed during the course
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: of this research project.What did you learn, and how can you convince othersthat the learnings are something that will help youand them in the future?How can you share what you learned?How can you go to a job interview and useeverything that's happened during this processto show that you are curious, you are passionate,
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: you are organized, you are someonewho communicates effectively?How can you take everything that's happenedand translate that into saleable skills?So, this whole concept of passionate curiosityis what will find you a good project.It's what will drive you through the research process.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: It's what will gather your data, analyze the data,take you through to conclusion, the writing,and finally, to something you can leverage into the future.
Dr. Zina O'Leary discusses passionate curiosity and how it can affect the research process.
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Dr. Zina O'Leary discusses passionate curiosity and how it can affect the research process.