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R E S E A R C H. Begin. Introduction. When was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday? Where did Post-It notes come from? Is there a symbol for Cobalt? If there is a symbol for Cobalt, what is it? When you have a question about something, how do you answer it?

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When was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday? Where did Post-It notes come from? Is there a symbol for Cobalt? If there is a symbol for Cobalt, what is it?

When you have a question about something, how do you answer it?

What do you do if you don’t know the answer and have to go find it?

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You have to do what is called research. What is research? This presentation will tell you what research is and how to do it. You will also have the opportunity to look at several famous researchers and what they discovered.

Use the Direction buttons located at the bottom to go places in this tutorial.


what is research
What is Research?

According to Merriam-Webster,

Research is defined as:

The careful study and investigation

for the purpose of discovering and

explaining new knowledge; the

collecting of information about a


*Merriam-Webster’s Student Dictionary On-line

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Based on our definition, there are two types of research.

The first is researching to find new information that is unknown by everyone. The purpose of this kind of research is to take what you know or can find out and expand on it in a new way. Think about computers. The first computers ever invented were so large they took up whole rooms. New research has brought us to the development of laptop computers, small enough we can carry them around. Another example is medicine. Research is bringing new cures for diseases and new ways of treating diseases and conditions.

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This is the type of research used for writing papers or answering questions. An example is looking in an encyclopedia to find out when and where Abraham Lincoln was born or locating Australia on a globe. Others have done the work and recorded it. This type of research is finding the already recorded information that is needed.

The second type of research is researching to learn about information already known by others, collecting their knowledge.

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No matter what you are researching, data or information has to be collected and recorded. The specific tools or techniques used to gather information is what is known as Research Methods.

Some examples include:

  • Surveying
  • Interviewing
  • Observing

The kind of research you are doing

will determine the method you use

for gathering information.

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how to research
How to Research

Doing Research is a process.

How to research depends on what the research you are doing is for. There are two main reasons most people to do research. One is to answer a question through following a procedure. This is usually something scientific.

The other way most people do research is to write what is called a “research paper.” In this case, information, usually facts, is gathered and presented in a long essay.

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The Scientific Method

  • The Scientific Method steps are:
  • Make Observations to pinpoint a topic
  • Research topic for information already known about your topic
  • Form a Hypothesis or prediction statement
  • Test Hypothesis by conducting experiments
  • Gather data
  • Analyze data
  • Draw a Conclusion

Let’s say you want to know what happens when you add Hydrogen to Sulfur. To answer this question, you would do scientific research. Scientific Research follows a step-by-step procedure called The Scientific Method.

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Like conducting a science experiment, writing a research paper has steps to be followed.

1. Choose your topic.2. Write three questions that you have about this topic. You will answer these questions in your paper.3. Gather information that will help you answer the questions. Take a trip to the library to find nonfiction and reference books on your topic.

4. Read source material and take notes. Be sure to keep track of all the books and articles you use. You will need that information for your bibliography.

5. Write a title. Be sure your title informs your reader about your paper topic.

6. Write an introduction. Briefly describes your topic and lets the reader know what the rest of the paper will be about.

7. An outline may help you write the paragraphs. Each question that you researched will become the main topic of a paragraph. The details you use in the paragraph should answer the question.8. Write your conclusion. What do you want your reader to learn or remember from your paper?9. Write a bibliography. Be sure to show the sources you used to gather facts about your topic.

Once you have finished your paper, be sure to review your writing.

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Practically all scientists – no matter what form of science – are researchers. Why? Because they observe things and collect information others have recorded. They make predictions about their ideas. They conduct tests or experiments. They record their findings.

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a few famous science researchers click to read about
A Few Famous Science Researchers(click to read about)
  • Albert Einstein
  • Thomas Edison
  • Sir Isaac Newton
  • Madame Marie Curie

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Without the research done by these individuals and so many others, things we use today would not have come to exist. Today’s research in areas like technology and medicine is often based on research done by previous researchers.

Just think, the movie you watch on TV started with Edison’s system for the electric light bulb which brought electricity into homes and his kinetoscope and kintograph which was the first true motion picture camera.

Medical treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy would not be available without the work of Madame Marie Curie.

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main menu
Main Menu
  • What is Research?
  • How to Research
  • Famous Researchers
  • Research Questions and Answers
  • Site Map
  • Relevant Websites
  • References

Back to Intro


albert einstein
Albert Einstein
  • Born March 14, 1879
  • Died April 18, 1955
  • Germany
  • Studied Physics
  • Considered most influential scientist of the 20th Century

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Albert Einstein is most known for his Theory of Relativity. Although the concept of relativity was not introduced by Einstein, his major contribution was the recognition that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant and an absolute physical boundary for motion.

Einstein also derived the famous equation, E = mc2, which reveals the equivalence of mass and energy. When Einstein applied his theory to gravitational fields, he derived the "curved space-time continuum" which depicts the dimensions of space and time as a two-dimensional surface where massive objects create valleys and dips in the surface. This aspect of relativity explained the phenomena of light bending around the sun, predicted black holes as well as the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) -- a discovery rendering fundamental anomalies in the classic Steady-State hypothesis.

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Although Einstein is best known for his theory of relativity, he also played a major role in developing quantum theory. It was his contribution to quantum theory - explaining the photoelectric effect - which won Einstein his Nobel Prize in 1921.

Photoelectric effect is the name given to the observation that when light is shone onto a piece of metal, a small current flows through the metal. The light is giving its energy to electrons in the atoms of the metal and allowing them to move around, producing the current. Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect was just the start of an avalanche of discoveries that became quantum theory. In this theory, light is not just a particle and not just a wave: it can be one or the other, depending on how it is measured.

Thanks to Einstein’s Photoelectric Effect, we have the following technology:

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sir isaac newton
Sir Isaac Newton
  • Born December 25, 1642 or January 4, 1643 (depending on which calendar system used)
  • Died March 20, 1727
  • England
  • Studied Mathematics and Physics

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Isaac Newton was a mathematician and scientist. A familiar story about Newton is that as he was sitting under an apple tree, an apple fell, hitting him on the head, leading to his study of gravity.

Newton published a work entitled “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica” in 1686. In it, Newton described gravity and his laws of motion. This laid the groundwork for what is now know as classical mechanics. Newton’s Cradle is a familiar toy that demonstrates Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion.

Newton’s Laws of Motion

1st Law – A body remains at rest unless acted upon by an external force.

2nd Law – The rate of change of momentum is proportional to the magnitude of the external force that acts upon it.

3rd Law – For every impulse on a body, the body exerts an equal and opposite impulse.

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Newton is also well known for his work on light. In 1704, he published Opticks, a book discussing his work which lead to the development of the reflecting telescope. Earlier telescopes consisted of glass lenses mounted in a tube.

Newton discovered that when light passed through a lens, different colors were refracted. This is called chromatic aberration. Newton designed a telescope that used mirrors rather than lenses to bring light into focus.

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thomas edison
Thomas Edison
  • Born February 11, 1847
  • Died October 18, 1931
  • United States
  • Scientist whose personal research lead to over 1,000 US patents

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Edison didn’t invent the first light bulb, but in 1879 using lower current electricity, a small carbonized filament, and an improved vacuum inside the globe, he was able to produce a reliable, long-lasting source of light.

Perhaps the three things Edison is most famous for are the invention of the light bulb, the phonograph, and the kinetoscope.

Yet, through his life, it is recorded that Edison had over 1,000 inventions.

Some of these were improvements he made on his own inventions as he continued his research.

August 12, 1877, is the date popularly given for Edison's completion of the first phonograph. While working to improve the efficiency of a telegraph transmitter, he noted that the tape of the machine gave off a noise resembling spoken words when played at a high speed.

A Kinetoscope is a viewer for recorded objects in motion. The Kinetograph was the camera that Edison invented to record.

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Edison’s list of inventions makes an amazing timeline.

Here are some of the highlights:

1877: He invented the phonograph and the carbon transmitter

(a crucial improvement in phone technology).1879: He invented a direct current generator for incandescent electric lighting

and the carbon filament lamp

1882-1883: He designed and contracted for the first three-wire central station

for distributing electric light, power, and heat - in standardized form - in Brockton,

Massachusetts. He discovered a previously unknown phenomenon that later came

to be known as the "Edison effect," but he called "Etheric Force". He specifically,

determined that an independent wire, grid, or plate placed between the legs of the

filament of an incandescent lamp acted as a "damper" or valve to control the flow

of current. After twelve years these previously unknown phenomena were

recognized as electric waves in free space and became the foundation of wireless

telegraphy. Most importantly, this discovery - along with his carbon button –

involved the foundation principles upon which the diode was later invented, and

upon which radio, television, and computer transistors are based. 1883: He constructed the first, relatively crude, three-wire central system for electric

lighting in a simple wooden structure in Sunbury, Pa.

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1886: He invented an improved wax-recording phonograph called the graphophone.

1887-1890: He made major improvements on the brown wax and black wax cylinder

phonograph. He obtained over eighty related patents, while establishing a very

extensive commercial business in the manufacture and sale of phonographs and

records. 1891: He Invented and patented the motion picture camera. This mechanism, with

its continuous tape-like film, made it possible to take, reproduce, and project

motion pictures as seen and heard today. 1891-1900: He invented the Fluoroscope. Realizing the necessity and value

of a practical fluorescent screen for making examinations with X-rays, he made

thousands of crystallizations of single and double chemical salts and finally

discovered that crystals of Calcium Tungstate made in a particular way were

highly fluorescent to the X-ray. He also made many several improvements on

the X-ray tube.

1910-1914: He invented the diamond point reproducer and the "indestructible"

record, thereby commencing a new era in phonographs.1912: He invented the Kinetophone or talking motion picture.1914: He invented the Telescribe, combining the telephone and the dictating

phonograph, thus permitting - for the first time - the recording of both sides of a

telephone conversation.1915: He invented the first synthetic form of carbolic acid (C6H6O).

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madame marie curie
Madame Marie Curie
  • Born November 7, 1867
  • Died July 4, 1934
  • Poland
  • Physicist and chemist

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The Periodic Table

Madame Marie Curie is known for discovering the radio-active elements Radium and Polonium. She discovered them along with her husband Pierre Curie.



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Marie Curie also contributed greatly to our understanding of radioactivity and the effects of x-rays. It was her discovery that radiation is useful in killing tumors.

In 1903, Marie Curie was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics for her discovery of the elements Radium and Polonium. She was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize. In 1911, Marie Curie was honored with a second Nobel prize, this time in chemistry, to honor her for successfully isolating pure Radium and determining Radium's atomic weight.

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research questions and answers
Research Questions and Answers
  • Is research hard?
    • No. To research something, you have to know what you are looking for. You need a key word or subject, such as Radiation or Mark Twain. Then, you just find resources to use to answer your question.
  • What are good resources?

Good resources are things like dictionaries, encyclopedias, fact books,

and atlases. These are good resources because they have factual

information from trust-worthy sources.

          • What makes a resource a good resource?

A good resource can prove where the information came from. A good resource also has credentials or authority when it comes to the subject. NASA would be a good resource on information about the space shuttle because of its credentials and authority on space. A book called “Bob’s Book on Space Shuttles” is probably not a good resource because Who is Bob?

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research questions and answers1
Research Questions and Answers
  • What is the most important thing about research?

The most important thing about research is documentation. It is very important that the information you observe and record is accurate. It is also very important that where information was found is properly recorded.

  • Why is documenting so important in research?

Documenting is very important for two reasons. First, in order to know what you have found or what you have done, accurate records are the only way to go. Without accurate records of what you have done, you cannot prove your research. Secondly, research and information is available to use, but it is not yours. You must document where you got your information.

  • What does it mean to document where you got information?

If you are writing a report or paper, you will have what is called a Bibliography. The bibliography is where you list the resources (books, journal articles, encyclopedias, websites) you found information in. Usually you use what is called a citation style (MLA or APA).

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research questions and answers2
Research Questions and Answers
  • What if I don’t document where I got information?

Not citing where you got information is called

plagiarism. Plagiarism is stealing and cheating.

  • Where can I get help with research?

The library is a great place to start looking for resources. There are also several websites that are listed in this tutorial which may assist in answering some other questions.

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relevant websites
Relevant Websites

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  • (Dictionary view) Research. Jpg. http://www.compliance.vpr.okstate.edu
  • (man at desk cartoon) www-hagen.informatik.uni-kl.de
  • http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bledison.htm
  • “sir Isaac Newton.” Lucidcafe: Library. http://www.lucidcafe.com/library/95dec/newton.html
  • Newton and the Reflecting Telescope. http://www.egglescliffe.org.uk/physics/astronomy/telescope/newtontele.html
  • “Sir Isaac Newton Biography.” by Abhijit Naik,1/4/2010. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/sir-isaac-newton-biography.html
  • http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1921/einstein-bio.html
  • http://www.allaboutscience.org/theory-of-relativity.htm
  • http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blMarieCurie.htm
  • http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1911/marie-curie-bio.html

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site menu
Site Menu

Title Slide



Main Menu

Defining Research

Famous Researchers(3)

How to Research

Q&A 1

Relevant Websites


Site Map

Albert Einstein (3)

Types of Research

Scientific Method

Q&A 2

Isaac Newton (3)

Research Methods

Thomas Edison (4)

Research Writing

Q&A 3

Marie Curie (3)

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