Tips for more effective research
Doing research papers is part of every student’s life. It seems like tedious work, but it can be very fulfilling once it has been successfully completed. Indeed, doing a research paper requires hard work, and most of it comes from the researching part of the task. Researching can be hard because it is a challenge to know where to start, where to find the right kind of sources, or how to manage all the information that has been gathered. Keeping in mind the following reminders may help make the task easier to bear while also making your research paper better in quality.
1. Do not use just one source.
The purpose of doing a research paper is more than just to gather a bunch of information in pieces of paper. Most of the time, it aims to come up with some stance on a certain topic or be able to synthesize ideas to form a statement. This means that different information from different sources must be consolidated. The topic needs to be thoroughly studied from different points of view that inform one another in order to form or find some kind of truth. This can be done by looking into different sources from all its different kinds. Do not be limited by just one source because the fun in doing a research paper lies on how you form your own ideas from a combination of other people’s ideas.
2. Do not limit your sources to just online ones.
While the Internet is full of useful information, you must not limit yourself to it alone. Books can be just as helpful because they are more focused on a topic or a subject matter. They even have bibliographies that can lead you to other useful sources.
3. Refer to the bibliography of books you have used to find more books that you could use.
Bibliographies are great in helping make researching a lot easier. It is always helpful to look at a book’s bibliography because it is a list of all the sources that the book has used. This means that you could be lead to more sources that may even contain more useful information than the book you have found first.
4. Keep the purpose of your paper in mind while doing research.
After doing a lot of research, the amount of information one can find can start to feel overwhelming. While doing the research, it is important to keep some sort of working thesis in mind so that you would be able to filter through sources to find the ones that could help support or enrich your arguments.
5. Plan an effective system for your research notes.
With all the information, quotations, and other things you could find, it can be stressful trying to find your way into organizing all of them. The job will be easier if you find a way to properly organize your information. One good system is to use index cards. On top of the index cards, you could put the bibliographical entries of each source, which makes it easier to refer to them while writing and organizing your ideas.
6. Be mindful of the publication dates of your sources.
It is important to check the dates of your sources because you may want to use more recent, more updated sources. You would not want to have outdated information in your completed work.
“Advice for Students: 10 Steps Toward Better Research.” Lifehack. Web. 21 Aug. 2015. <http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/advice-for-students-10-steps-toward-better-research.html>.
“Federation University Australia.” Researching Tips. Web. 21 Aug. 2015. <http://federation.edu.au/library/resources/researching-tips>.
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