It’s a shame how, despite their significance in academic life, research skills have taken a backseat in university studies. Generally, most teachers unjustly assume that their pupils already have primary research capabilities or can learn along the way. The best advice most professors can churn out is checking out library resources or discussing with the librarian. It should come as no surprise that most college students depend entirely on Wikipedia for their research purposes, which by the way, is a terrible source!
However, researching skills are an integral part of an academic’s toolkit. The job market is brimming with curious individuals, so what trait sets you apart from the crowd? If you possess the skills to ask logical questions and answer them systematically, it can be your ticket to glory. Today, most companies search for professionals who can research a variety of areas.
For instance, engineers need to research the typical uses and hazards of particular machines before finalizing their equipment design. Thus, researching is an instrumental skill across different industries and markets. Often, good research leads us to the answers needed to execute a project or a task successfully. You could be an administrative assistant in an organization, and you would still have to do research. For instance, you’ll have to research consumer behavior to ensure your company’s services suit its clients’ needs.
As a student, you must be up-to-date on modern research tools and techniques. Plus, to maximize the usefulness of the information you obtain from your research, you need strong research skills.
For that reason, we have compiled these tips to help you find, organize, and utilize the information required in conducting primary research and crafting a decent research paper.
Pose Your Thesis Question
The end goal of any research is to provide a solution to a problem. Similarly, your research paper has to offer the answer to a specific question. Developing thesis questions helps you to achieve this goal.
For example, when writing a research report in psychology, you’ll need to hypothesize something you’ll prove through the paper using experiments. Many universities offer degrees that help you learn how to formulate a hypothetical question. For instance, an online liberal studies degree centralized in social sciences might give you hands-on experience in conducting research and surveys.
Decide your thesis question right when you begin your research. Setting your mind on a specific research purpose can help eliminate the accumulation of any indirect or irrelevant information. That way, you’ll include only appropriate and essential information in your paper.
Hoarding more than necessary information can sidetrack you from your goal and turn your research into a bigger headache than it needs to be.
Devise A Plan
So, you’ve identified the end goal of your research; now what? Now, you need to find the means to get there. Come up with a game plan. Your plan should incorporate a list of possible sources, deliverables, and a timeline. A timeline may help in visually representing when you should finish each research component. Listing down potential sources may determine the acquaintances, publications, or places you need to consult for your information gathering.
Additionally, include deliverables into the plan. Deliverables refer to research outcomes that you can submit in intervals leading up to the due date. Do you know why survey researcher salary in today’s world continues to reach new heights? Because conducting research involves much more complexities than visible on the surface, having a plan tends to clear some fog.
Choose Your Sources Carefully
After devising the plan of action, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal. As you start collecting necessary information, it is always worth checking your sources for bias or irrelevancy. Don’t forget to verify the information from one or two other platforms. If the information isn’t verifiable, its value will be less than sub-par.
Try to begin with a thorough web search for research studies or scholarly articles on the topic. Online web browsers might come in handy when you’re distinguishing scholarly information from less valuable information.
Are you struggling to find research-appropriate data or information? Worry not. An excellent place to look for supplementary information is in the source material of any valuable material you’ve already discovered. You’ve probably heard about Wikipedia not being credible enough as a research source. Yet, the references at the bottom of Wikipedia’s pages could prove beneficial and provide a starting point for source material.
Additionally, you can use Google to narrow down and quicken your research process with simple tricks. It would help if you only search for specific websites, limit your search to particular dates and institutes, and exclude all undesired words or results. Also, Google Scholar and Google Books can link you to several research publications and papers, free of cost!
Use A System And Stay Organized
An organized research process leads to rational and precise outcomes. An organized approach can help you gain momentum in your quest for information. It can also ensure that all collected items remain free of repetition and irrelevancy. In most cases, people employ the internet’s aid in their research and information gathering. An excellent idea for ease of access to gathered information is to create bookmarks and divide the information into subfolders. Getting printed copies of your research can be useful if you like things to be readily available to you and if you like the touch of paper!
When preparing to write a research report, you should consider making a writing outline once you’ve gathered some sources. Develop a system for going forward. Define your paper’s objective again, as it may be different from your beginning thesis. If you’re more of a visual learner, creating mind-maps can be advantageous. Make sure the outline is on a capacious paper so you can refer to it and direct your research and recognize any loopholes in your information. For instance, your supportive arguments may be lacking strength.
Reach Out For Help
Indeed, material research resources are genuinely indispensable. But, don’t disregard the blessing that is the human brain. You can ask your peers, professors, and counselors to help you find and assess data sources. Your acquaintances can even help you figure out how to utilize the material you’ve collected thus far efficiently.
Another valuable yet overlooked resource is your college/school library. Moreover, librarians know the library material like the back of their hands. They will be eager to help you find relevant research information and find items of inaccessible data.
Your peers can significantly add to your research process. Some of them may have previously worked with material or information relevant to your topic.
Conducting your first-ever research and then writing a paper is an enthralling prospect, filled with ups and downs. Indeed, keeping up with all the rules of collecting and organizing your information can be overwhelming. To help you in this regard, we discussed some clever tricks to make you capable of managing your research work and reaching your ultimate goal quickly. These include, but are not limited to, asking a question, making a plan, carefully choosing resources, and staying organized.
If you heed our advice, you’ll find your research process becoming more refined and efficient in no time!