Research Circles – A Great Research Tool

Research Circles – The Greatest Research Tool

15 November 2017

Seeker,

If you’ve ever conducted research which involves dozens of articles and/or books, then you know that sometimes the managing of such sources can be a hassle.

Realizing this, I began to do something which assists in the visualization of sources and the relationships among sources: research circles.

Now, the term “research circle” is a term I devised. There may be a formal name and it may be conducted by other people, but the idea and name were a result of independent origin (that is, I have not seen this being done elsewhere)

So, what is a research circle? All is revealed below!

Research Circles

  • A physical visualization of sources involved in research
  • In the form of a circle
  • Reveals relations among sources and among ‘source families’

How to Create a Research Circle

Required:

  • At least 10+ Printed Sources (The more the better!)
  • An area where you can comfortably move and place your books

Steps:

PART I

  1. Place the sources on the ground side by side without any rhyme or rhythm.
  2. Focus on one source and establish (in your mind) a general category which that source may fall (example: economics)
  3. Attempt to find another source which falls into that same category. If no other source falls into the category you have chosen, generalize that category or choose another category (or choose another source and go back to that one later).
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until every book is placed in a category (if there are a few books which cannot be placed in any category, put those books in they’re own categories.

What you have done here is organize your sources into general categories. They are now much easier to manage and the relationships among sources are clear.

PART II (Informational Visual Diagram Below)

NOTE: If this part is difficult to follow along, there are pictures below which may be very helpful.

  1. In the form of a circle, place any foundational texts (sources which are the founding sources on the topic. An example may be a source by Sigmund Freud if the general research topic is psychology) on the top layer of the circle.
  2. Place any groups of sources which are derived or relate to those sources on layers below the first layer.
  3. Continue steps 1-2 until all groups have been placed.
  4. When all the groups of sources have been placed, observe the groups and see if any of the groups contain 2 or more sources which are subcategories/subsets of the larger group. If so, place these sources below the group on another layer.
  5. When all subset groups have been placed, place any supplemental sources on the left, right, and bottom of the circle. These sources aren’t related to the ones at the top of the circle, but they still add to the research.
  6. Place any sources which demonstrate research methods/practices on the bottom layer (below the supplemental sources).
  7. Your research circle is now complete! Take a picture of your circle and you may now observe the relations between sources in a tangible way.

After all the steps are completed, you will notice that a visual ‘universe’ has been created where all of your sources are linked to each other. It is now much easier to visualize your sources and create digital models of the relations between the sources.

There are a few other ways of forming your research circles, but this is the best and simplest method.

Hopefully this will assist you in your current and future research endeavors!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment below or contact me at jcapostem@gmail.com.

-Jesus Capo Jr

Two Questions I Ask to (Almost) Truly Get to Know Someone

29 October 2017

Seeker,

Whenever I meet someone and get to know them, I tend to focus on who they are as people in terms of the way they think rather than simply on the surface level of what they say/advocate for (of course, both matter, but the underlying thought process reveals more).

For the purpose of this post, we will focus on one part of the thought process: does the person think what they think because of original thoughts/research/conclusions or because ‘everybody else thinks so’? (leader or follower, essentially).

Therefore, there are two simple questions I devised which I ask whenever I would like to know the answer to the question above.

The questions are designed to be simple yet reveal much about a person’s thought process. I’ve only told a handful of people about the way this works before but I thought it could be something useful for you, seeker.

And if you’re reading my blog, then you deserve to be included in that list of people who I’ve told.

And I’ll explain them afterwards.

But without further ado, here they are:

The Questions

1) If you are going to (a place) where you and everybody else were suggested to, not forced to or required to, wear (or have) a (object), would you wear (or have) that (object) solely because everybody else is wearing (or has) that (object) or because you actually want to wear (or have) that (object)?

(NOTE: Could be phrased as two questions of if the person would even wear (or have) that thing in the first place and a second of why they would/wouldn’t wear (or have) it).

2) If you had to (do something) to get (something) which would contribute to your overall personal success, but it was ‘against the rules’ to (do that thing) to access (that something), but doing so would not hurt anybody or ruin anything in the process and nobody would know you did it, would you (do that thing) to get (that something)?

(NOTE: Possessing that thing in question 2 is not against the rules. All that is against the rules in this situation is the action required to obtain it. Also, it is a guarantee that nobody will get hurt, nothing will break, and nobody will know the action took place, meaning no consequences for breaking the rule).

Explanation of Question Format

Firstly, I’ll first start off with mentioning that those questions are the ‘raw’, unedited versions of the questions. This means that many variables which can be changed were left out.

So, if you decide to use those questions, I suggest to:

  • Fill in the variables (object, place, has/wear) with relevant inputs (I suggest to keep them neutral, since if the objects/places are things which the person inherently does/doesn’t like, this might skew the answers)
  • Explain and expand on certain parts if needed. An example is to describe what exactly defines something ‘which you actually want to do’

What the Questions Reveal

Now, I will start this section off by mentioning that the questions aren’t at all guaranteed to reveal the entire picture of how a person thinks, especially since there are only two options per question which doesn’t allow for any ‘gray area’.

However, the questions are useful in having a general idea on what to expect from a person. But the final true answers are not as clear cut as these questions may make them seem. This takes truly knowing someone for an extended amount of time.

Also, I’m not saying an answer is ‘correct’. This post is intended to show the usage of these questions just to get to know someone, not to judge the observations.

So here’s what might be revealed from those questions:

Question 1 Possible Reveals

I will wear (or have) that (object) because I want to, not solely because everybody else is’

  • Probably exhibits more traits of a leader than a follower
  • Probably thinks more for themselves than allowing others to heavily influence his/her thoughts and decisions/actions
  • Probably doesn’t care about the whole idea of ‘fitting in’ just for the sake of fitting in
  • Probably cares more about his/her own wants than the wants of a group.

‘I will wear (or have) that (object) because everyone else is wearing (or has) that (object) and I want to fit in’

  • Probably exhibits more traits of a follower than a leader
  • Probably allows others to heavily influence his/her actions/thoughts/decisions and take precedent over his/her wants
  • Probably cares more about fitting in than if he/she would have answered the question with the other option

Question 2 Possible Reveals

‘Yes, I would do (that thing) under all the circumstances described so that I may achieve personal success’

  • Probably cares more about his/her personal success than the adherence of rules
  • Probably realizes that the rules aren’t necessarily put there to benefit/protect him/her but to protect the imposer of the rules
  • Probably cares more about his/her personal goals than the goals of the group
  • Might have picked this simply to break the rules (this should be kept in mind as a possibility. If this is a the reason, any other assumptions may be invalid)

‘No, I wouldn’t do (that thing) even under those circumstances, since it would be breaking the rules, even if it means not achieving my personal success’

  • Probably cares more about adhering to the rules than his/her own success
  • Probably believes the rules were put in place to benefit/protect him/her and the imposers of the rules want the ‘best for him/her’
  • Probably cares more about the group and the goals of the group than his/her own goals

Additionally, there are other conclusions that may be reached for different combinations of answers between the questions. These may be discussed in another post, but the above conclusions are satisfactory for the purposes of this post (if you would like a post explaining the other conclusions, comment below).

Final Notes

Please keep in mind the following points:

  1. The questions are not guarantees and do not offer a full picture to any story or situation and do not fully describe a person
  2. The questions do not take into account any possible ‘gray area’
  3. The questions are solely meant to learn more about a person and how a person thingk, not to judge that person
  4. None of the answers are inherently correct
  5. The questions should never be forced upon someone. Not only does this lead to skewed results, but if a person doesn’t desire to have such observations made about them, then this should be respected
  6. The person should at least partially know the purpose of the questions (not saying exactly what you will be observing per se, but simply letting them know that they aren’t ‘normal’ questions)
  7. It is very possible other forms of these questions exist. I haven’t conducted any research besides my own observations and experience to form the questions, so anything like that would be purely coincidental. Although if you know of similar questions, please comment them.

Also, I would like to note that whenever I asked those questions, I was never ‘turned down’ because I had already known the people for at least a few days and I did not force the questions upon them.

I would also like to point out that I have received every possible combination of answers (No no; yes no; yes yes; no yes). I might explain what these combinations mean in another post if you contact me or post a comment asking me to do so.

And if the questions seem complicated in any way, just try to fit them into a larger story and this will allow the person answering them to answer them very easily.

Also, I may post the exact examples of what I use to fill in those ‘variables’ when I ask those questions (just ask in the comments).

Well that’s all for now, seeker. Good luck using these questions and I hope they assist you in every way needed.

-Jesus Capo Jr

P.S. Remember to ask questions! There are a few points I purposefully didn’t explain fully which I would enjoy being asked about.