Monday, September 10, 2012

MassMedia: How is Doing Research Like Being a Detective? (U2-P2) [VID]

Use the previous posts on theory and research and the video below to answer this question.

How is doing research like being a detective?

Theory: an explanation of how something works based on evidence.
Research: "“Disciplined inquiry...studying something in a planned manner and reporting it so that others can replicate the process” (Frey et al.).

Also note that a researcher does research to test and build theories.

What roles do theory and evidence play in this comparison?

From: The Mentalist

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  1. One of the things I like about shows like The Mentalist, Monk, and Psych, is that the show always gives us items of misdirection. We see this misdirection as hints to the "truth" of the situation. In science as in good detective work, the researcher/scientist has to look pass the obvious and look deeper into the why and how of a situation. In the scene above, we might think the assumed murder was the belligerent woman because of her behavior and because earlier when Simon looked into the younger girl's purse, the belligerent woman held her own purse closer to her body. We might have thought the gentleman on the sofa was guilty because he was too laid back. The mentalist was able to make the correct guess (and until he actually found the gun it was still a guess - education though it may have been) because he had background info that the audience was not privy to. A good researcher look thoroughly into a subject before stating results - just as a good detective does.

    1. I have something that I want to ask, but let's wait for a few more comments.

  2. I wanted to add that observational skills are also an important skill for both scientists and detectives. The skill that Shawn displays in the televisions series Psych is not psychic ability, but rather his extraordinary skills of observation. However, unlike the detectives/scientists I referred to in my previous post, Shawn does not begin with theory and then perform research to prove or disprove that theory. He very often makes observations, forms hunches and guesses based on those observations, and comes to a conclusion. I wouldn't call Shawn’s method “research” at all, but I would say that his ability to observe and intuit is remarkable (and unbelievable - but hey, it's television). UNRELATED NOTE: In my previous post I used the word "pass" when it should have been "past". (I actually had to research that correction!) Also, I meant to say "educated" in reference to Simon’s guess and not "education". It’s unbelievable that I actually read over my post three times before I submitted it. Wow!

  3. When you are doing research, your typically studying the Five W’s and H (who, what, when, where, why, how). That is basically what a detective’s job is, to investigate and answer the Five W’s and H. Researchers test and build theories, detectives investigate to solve the mystery. You gave the definition of theory as an explanation of how something works based on evidence. A detective’s job is to solve their case based on that evidence.

  4. A detective takes leads(information) and bulid upon that information to discover new information that will lead them to the solution to the problem. Same thing with doing research. You find information that someone has already discovered and you build upon and look deeper into that info to come up with your own observations. In the video, he used every person to build up to the solution to the case. While watching the video, I thought it was the lady who committed the murder because of her actions.

  5. In all honesty there is not much difference at all between a researcher and a detective other than the methods through which they find their information and come to a conclusion. Both have a defined structue through which they determine facts and obtain information or evidence. They must both use their experience and instincts to come to a concise conclusion. Likewise they must both present their conclusions and how they came to hem to an authoritative body.

  6. Technically, a detective is a researcher who collects evidence in order to solve a crime, just as a social-scientist or scienctific researcher collects data to prove a theorhetical hypothesis. Detectives also apply processes which have been proven effective in evidence collection to build a case. Researchers also study previously collected data to prove or disprove a theory. They are very much alike in that they piece together information to reach a conclusion.


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