This article gives you interesting tips to improve your research skills in a practical way. After reading you will be able to apply these research tips in your own research methodology.
Research is inseparable part of education: both continuous self-education and studying in school, college, etc. Writing an essay or paper is an impossible mission without making advance research. Accordingly, every student is looking for ways to improve research skills. Certainly, we all aware of usual research methods like data collection and its analysis, but if we could make it more effective, let’s do it. Here are the TOP 10 tips which help make your research more qualitatively and thoroughly.
1. Set a schedule
If you need to meet deadlines and write a good research paper, you should set a program. Divide your work into parts and set certain period of time for each of them. You could use time periods, like spending a week for working on the first part, two and a half weeks for the next. But it is more effective to establish own deadlines, for example, research for the first part of the paper needs to be finished by September 25. However, always leave some extra time for checking your sources and organize the material you got.
2. Pose the thesis
Any research paper needs to provide the answer to one specific question, solve the problem. The thesis helps you to reach this goal. You should set the thesis of your work in the very beginning of the research. The specific topic will help you avoid information relied on your work indirectly and take into account just information which really important and closely connected to your paper. Gathering a lot of unnecessary information could mislead you and turn your work into a mess.
3. Draw an outline
After posing the thesis make a schema. Break your paper into logical parts. The thesis will help you not to get lost in all the information space and specify your information needs, and structure will help you isolate from this space not so important, but very valuable facts for developing your topic and confirmation your point of view. Furthermore, by breaking down your work into parts you will easily find out which information is missing, and extract some time to look for it. Thereby, you will save your time for editing the paper as all information is gathered, and also save your nerves as there will not be the reason to worry when you work will close to finishing.
4. Visit Wikipedia once
Definitely, when there is such resource like Wikipedia everybody would like to use it. It is okay, but you shouldn’t make it your main source. Wikipedia is an excellent site for making overview and using as a background. If you find some fact in Wikipedia, which rely on your work, try to find its original source. Wikipedia couldn’t be used as a source in your work. Use it just as directory, reference book.
5. Meet a librarian
Thought it is the era of new technologies and the Internet, libraries can help. Spend some time in it to appreciate sources, remember where they are, and become friend with a librarian. Yes, communicative skills are important. There are a lot of sources in the Internet, however, there are some which you probably don’t find there (journals, video materials, letters, etc.). So, if you know the librarian well you could ask him to help you and most likely you will get more sources more quickly and without effort. And even without the librarian help you will be able to find the literature you need more effective as you know the places it is kept in.
Not only librarian can be useful for your research. There is a lot of people who will help you with pleasure. Professors are waiting for students who will ask their opinion, come to consult with them. Don’t be afraid of seeming stupid, curiosity is a principal feature of a well-educated person. There are research departments where you could get answers. Their co-workers participate in dissertation committees’ session and have huge experience, which they could kindly share with you. Eventually, talk to your classmates, friends. They know what you’re going through and will help you gladly. Thereto, they can already have the literature or information you need.
7. Take advantage of new technologies
There is not only Wikipedia out there. Thousands of scientists and researchers use modern tools which make research process much easier and comfortable. There are a lot of websites which provide you with well-ordered catalogues of specific literature. One of the most popular tools among researchers is Zotero. It helps you gather, organize and keep the information in your personal library, so you will not lose it. It works with many resources where you probably could find information. Another useful tool is Mendeley. In addition to searching tools, importing actual articles and papers to your computer, ability to read last studies from your mobile phone it provides you with the opportunity to communicate with other researchers. If you are going to make the best research you ever did, you definitely use such tools.
8. Write it down
Ideas come all of a sudden. While making your research always have a notebook and a pen. Sometimes you could gather thought from unsuspected sources. You could watch the movie, or listen to the radio and catch interesting information. Even if it is not directly the information you need, but something related to your topic and what could help you better develop it, write it down to remember it. Moreover, it gives you more sources which make your work more valuable and authoritative.
9. Put it in order
Be logical and accurate. Don’t mess the sources and information from them. Just after you found the information you need to note it with the link. Make citations correctly, check the source of quoted words very carefully. Follow these rules strictly. Again, it is all about saving time and, thereafter, increase the effectiveness of your work. First of all, it shows the recipient of your paper that you worked rationally, second of all, it helps you find additional information if needed without wasting time for new search.
It is very important to sound of current interests. First of all, find new sources relevant to the modern studies. Look at the problem through the contemporary life. Choose new works and books instead of old studies if they have a similar topic. Major of schools and colleges require fresh sources. Generally, they shouldn’t be older than 10 years. In some cases you could use the old studies, but they should either be fundamental study in the area you work, or show some tendencies in it.
These tips will help you to organize your research work and reach your goal with ease. It could be hard to follow all these rules while making first research and such research could take a lot of time and efforts. But soon you will use these advices without noticing, and your research process becomes easier and more efficient.
It’s Your Turn
What do you think? Can you apply these tips or do you have any add-ons to help others? Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.
- Mendeley. Your research, anywhere. Retrieved 02/07/2016 from Mendeley.com: https://www.mendeley.com/
- University of Arizona Libraries. Improve your research skills. Retrieved 02/07/2016 from Arizona.edu: http://new.library.arizona.edu/research/tutorials
- University of Illinois. Develop research skills.. Retrieved 02/07/2016 from Illinois.edu: http://www.library.illinois.edu/learn/research/skills.html
- Zotero. Develop research skills.. Retrieved 02/07/2016 from Zotero.org: https://www.zotero.org/
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