How to do research
Knowing how to research is a much-needed skill and it's really not that hard. It can seem overwhelming with all the different sources and citation guides, but don't worry! Pretty soon you’ll be a master at researching.
1. Identify your research topic.
Sometimes you get to pick a topic and sometimes your teacher or professor assigns you a topic. Even so, you usually still get to pick your angle of focus. Pick an idea you find interesting and go from there. In the beginning stages you don’t need to have your topic super focused. A basic idea of what you’re looking for is fine. As you do more research you’ll narrow it down.
2. Understand the assignment.
There are a variety of things you need to understand about your assignment before you start researching. How much information do you need? It’s up to the length of your paper. What information do you need? It’s up to the types of your paper. For example, if the assignment is a research paper, you’re going to need facts rather than opinions about the topic; while if you’re writing a persuasive or analysis paper, you’ll need opinions and facts to support those opinions.
3. Determine the types of information you'll need.
This includes things like the format of the material, how important time is to your topic, how important place and languages are to your topic. Do you need facts, opinions, analyses, or research studies, or a mixture?
4. Do preliminary research.
When you're starting out it's best to do some basic, over-view type of research. This will help give you ideas for a potential focus for your topic. Stick to broad sources that give an overview of the work.
1. Narrow your research focus.
Once you have your preliminary research completed you’ll need to narrow the focus of your topic and tease out your favorite angle. The narrower the focus, the easier it will be to find relevant research material. This means coming up with a specific thesis statement that says what exactly you are trying to argue or research.
2. Access academic sources.
You’ll need to find out valid research sources. Searching on the Internet, borrowing books from libraries, reading relevant government reports and legal documents, and even listening to some broadcasts, interviews, and lectures are all useful means. Besides, always remember to record your research and where you found it.
3. Evaluate your sources.
You’ll need to evaluate those materials as you research. It can be difficult when you’re researching (especially on the Internet) to find and make sure you have credible research material. Therefore, you should pay attention to who is making the claims in your sources, where they get their information, and how much is it supported by other scholars in the field.
4. Organize your information.
Once you feel you’ve done enough research, organize the information you’ve gathered. This will help give your paper a form, so you can know where and how the information is going to be used. It's also a good way to see if you have any gaps in knowledge that you need to plug.
Once you’re finished with your research, you’ll need to cite your sources. Different courses and disciplines (such as APA, MLA, and MAM, and so on) have different ways of citing so make sure you use the correct citation method for your discipline or course.
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