My initial thoughts on research

  • What do you think ‘research’ is?

I think research is the process you go through to learn new information to make a decision, answer a question or to solve a problem.

To perform research effectively it is important to use multiple sources to understand the full breadth of  knowledge and to reduce the influence of your personal bias on the findings.

It is also necessary to critically analyze the resulting information to determine what is relevant and valid.

  • Do you think you will ever need research skills?

I am studying and working towards becoming a software developer and so yes I do think I’ll need research skills because software development requires a great deal of problem solving skills.

I consider research skills to fall under the category of problem solving, vitally important in the software development field, because you have questions that needs answering such as  how can I implement a particular function in a particular language?, how do I fix this problem? or what does this error message mean?

If I have the latter question I would search the internet specifically developer forums, textbooks, and online tutorials for the error message I am getting and then I must analyze the validity of the answers by testing out the solutions proposed by going through the process of testing my code with all the solutions until I find the solution that stops the error from being thrown.

So as you can see software development definitely does require research skills to be able to find valid answers to technical questions.

  • What do you think a research journal is and who is it written for?

I think the research journal is a collection of reflections, important notes and a place to practice our research skills.

The purpose of the research journal is to both enforce the learning we do in the lectures both through reflecting on each classes teachings and practicing research skills like critically analyzing sources to ensure we are covering all primary sources and not just the sources that agree with our pre-conceived viewpoint.

This research journal is written for me to reflect on my learning journey and practice my research skills and for Clare to see the progress I make.

We had a class discussion about what good and useful features to include in our blogs, and both the class and Clare decided that the following features should be included in the blogs:

* Number of blogs and regularity

* Insights/thoughts and personal opinions

* Referring to previous posts, and comments you have made

* Variety of topics/sources

* Evidence of critical thinking – specifically sources

* Tags

* Search

* Links

* Good titles on posts

  • What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is taking someone else’s work/ideas and either claiming the work/ideas as your own or stating them without citing the true author using a recognized referencing notation such as APA.

  • Why is it important to avoid it?

From a ethical point of view it is important that intellectual property (work/ideas that have been conceived and developed by individuals or groups) is recognized and celebrated.

Additionally in a pragmatic sense an academic institution like NMIT considers plagiarism a serious offense and can cause the offending student to fail a course and so it is very important to avoid plagiarism.

Reminder: Query about work placement for project

Over the summer of 2016/17 I did an internship at a wonderful open-source software development company in Wellington called CatalystIT (

A wonderful company because they are so passionate about working with and developing open source solutions for clients, thereby handing the clients the source code so they have the freedom to change their solutions if they so wish.

I was working on Koha (Integrated Library Management System (ILMS) used by librarians worldwide to catalog books, perform acquisitions, add new borrowers, etc.).

Specifically myself and the other intern in the Koha team were tasked with the development and implementation of an onboarding wizard to be run after the (rather confusing) existing web installer finished to help the librarian user set up  a library, patron category, patron administrator account (that the librarian user could use to log into Koha after completing this onboarding wizard), item type and circulation rule (the rules determining how long items could be issued, etc.).

For example here is the patron administrator form in the Koha onboarding wizard we developed:

setup patron administratro.png

By providing simple forms in the onboarding wizard for users to create these objects they can log into Koha and have everything set up for them so they could get straight to work.

Having spent so much time both working with open source and thinking about making the user experience (UX) more seamless I have developed a strong interest in both of these topics and so I am in the process of reading up on both topics as much as possible and will often add links to articles relating to these topics in this blog to analyze them.

But back to the point of this reminder, I was fortunate enough to get a part time job working for CatalystIT from Nelson after my internship finished. I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to get some experience and to do work placement as my project in semester 2 of this year.

I asked Clare about the possibility of classing my work at CatalystIT as work placement, and she thought that rather than doing a work placement which requires you to actually be in the office with other IT professionals (which isn’t logistically feasible seeing as I will need to be in Nelson for the SDV502 and PRJ701  classes in semester 2) I could use my work at CatalystIT as a project with the company being a client. This would also give me a staff member at NMIT to liaise with as well. So I really look forward to finding a project for CatalystIT soon that I can write a research proposal for, ideally something similar to the onboarding wizard project I worked on which entailed a lot of interesting challenges and application of UX thinking.