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Suggestions for Research
You have been asked to make recommendations to the Global Research Information Nework (G.R.I.N.) regarding tropical rainforest management. As you undertake this task, there is a myriad of scientific, economic, and political factors for you to consider. Listed below are some strategies you may want to use.

Be thorough. Look at the situation from all perspectives. One reason the forest issue has so many sides is that it is a real-life issue, and real-life issues tend to be complex. It is important that you be as thorough as possible. Try to organize your findings so that you are not overwhelmed by all the competing data.

Question your sources. Question the reliability of your sources of information. You must evaluate the reliability of information provided by this module, by sources on the WWW, and even the words of experts you interview. Do the authors of these sources have biases? Having a bias does not automatically devalue the information provided. Indeed, very strong and accurate cases may be presented by a biased author. But sometimes a bias may minimize the valid concerns and data of the other side.

Evaluate the data. Do the data make sense? Are the numbers reasonable? If you have questions about the data, contact the source's author and ask for clarification.

Define all terms. Question whether the various groups are all talking the same language. Are their definitions of terms the same? Are their assumptions the same? A great many arguments arise because people are not starting from agreed-upon points or premises. They just assume that others have the same starting point in mind that they have.

Keep a log of questions. As you proceed through this module, it might be worthwhile for you to keep track of questions you would like to ask the experts if you could sit down with them. It simply works out that the more you learn, the more you wish you knew. When you get to the end of your work, consider including a section called "For Further Investigation." What else would you like to have known? What questions would you like to see studied next?

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Last updated November 10, 2004

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