Have you ever wondered why the sky or the ocean is blue? Maybe ponder the science of physics by dropping things? Curiosity is something ingrained into the human brain – begging to grasp the concepts that we experience at a young age and even into adulthood and old age. The way we come to conclusions though, vary from person to person, as we all experience things differently. Knowing things and understanding things are two totally independent skills that develop and grow as you learn about pretty much anything, and school has taught us to hone those skills with doing research projects and book reports and other sorts of assessments.
College and University kick it up a level and most of the assignments professors assign entail some sort of research and analysis on a certain topic. It’s not done arbitrarily, but to make sure that you not only know the information presented to you, but you understand it deeply and thoroughly. But lets first define “research and analysis” skills.
What are Research and Analysis skills?
The idea of research is to find and discover all sorts of information about a certain topic and compile and sort them out. When doing research, turning over every stone is important to clarify and reject certain ideas or opinions based on the information available and the sources available. The research part is mostly about the acquisition of information – the analysis part is figuring out what to do with said information. Making conclusions, deducting causes and reasons, visualizing concepts, even providing solutions are at the result of analysis. These two skills work in tandem and should be honed in order to understand ideas and concepts on a deeper level.
Why do I need Research and Analytical Thinking Skills?
Simply put, having these skills make problem-solving much easier. Even in the dawn of the age of technology and instant information, we can find solutions for anything with a click of a button. The question of “why” can be easily answered – from research papers to everyday questions – but we must have an analytical mind to even think of such questions instead of just accepting an answer. Professors who grade your writing assignments can see your analytical thinking skills and whether they have been used or not – the arguments you structure, the justification you present and the conclusions you make demonstrate how well you’ve analyzed a piece of information.
Steps to Improve your Research Analytical Thinking Skills:
These skills are not inherent and not everyone has them, but they certainly can be developed and sharpened. Here’s some of the best tips to increase your research literacy and your analytical thinking skills:
Read Read Read
Books are and always will be one of the best sources of information. All the knowledge we have to day came from books that have been written for centuries and centuries. Reading is a staple to understanding the greater picture, and it’s no different for research and analysis. It keeps your brain in good form and the more information you’re exposed to, the more your brain can digest and analyze. Being engaged in a text allows your brain to question the information and start to come up with answers.
Study a Framework
If you are discovering new topics or researching a potential thesis, the first step into doing a deep analysis is to understand the basics. The foundation of an idea sets the scene for the rest of the information to follow, and each piece builds on the next to create the perfect picture. This is important in understanding most things, as the framework is usually the simplest piece of information that most topics begin from. It’s a good habit to have when conducting research or even trying to solve a problem.
Ask Plenty of Questions
Curiosity is the driving force of the human mind. Its what makes a yearn for more and more information. The more curious we are about a topic, the more our brain gives it attention, and the more we can remember it. Most breaking discoveries started out as curiosity – which led to a breakthrough in science and technology. Don’t be shy in asking questions, the more you ask the more your analytical thinking skills grow.
Become more observant
The difference in lots of peoples research and analytical skills is the attention to detail. Becoming more observant means to absorb information that you experience, so that your brain may begin to recognize and digest that information. People watching will allow your brain to see how strange people may act in a cafe or restaurant – or observing that birds have a certain eating pattern when you throw bread crumbs on the ground. All of this observation is good for your brain to develop these research and analysis skills.
Write in a Journal or Notebook
All of these thoughts do no good locked in your brain – so as a good rule of thumb, when conducting research or analysis – its best to write down your ideas so you don’t forget them. It also can help you map out and organize you information in a way your brain can understand it. Lots of college students tend to skip this step and think their brain is enough to remember the research and information you’ve collected.
Do More Computing and Math
Believe it or not, numbers are a good way to sharpen your analytical skills, as there is a clear answer but many ways to arrive at a mathematical solution. The logic side of your brain will begin to work better – and you’ll be able to solve puzzles and use critical thinking better as well.
Find a very controversial, polarizing topic that has lots of information on the internet – and try to understand both sides. You can read comments on an open forum, you could discuss things with your family and friends, you can even watch youtube videos. This is all good practice for you to hone the analytical skills you need, as you are presented with all the information on both sides, and you ultimately make the judgment based on those facts.
Whether you’re writing a research essay or simply just curious about the world itself, research and analysis skills are special and require the needed attention to learn and grow.