Let’s say you want to try out continental cuisine for the first time. Would you order from the first restaurant that comes on the SERPs? Most probably, no. You are most likely to get a list of the top four or five continental restaurants in your neighbourhood first. Then you may choose one based on the prices it offers, the types of dishes it has and the behaviour of the staff.
In short, you conduct thorough research before making the decision. As you can see, research is important, no matter how trivial the situation. It’s the same thing in the education sector as well. Research is what gives your assignments an extra ‘kick’ that ultimately makes your paper stand out of the rest. You may not be a good writer. Yet, you can fetch excellent grades if your researching skill is on point. No wonder so many students rely on Wikipedia for immediate research paper help So, here’s a glimpse of the top ten ways for students to conduct better research.
1. Planning is the key
As per expert research paper helpers, research without any prior planning creates nothing but a mess. It leads to procrastination, thereby making many miss their deadlines. Set up a schedule such that you complete a series of milestones within a specific date.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Unpack the purpose of your topic.
- Get an overview of all the research material available out there.
- Find out what’s available in your library.
- Finally, choose relevant material and take notes from it.
- Put all of them together when you are done with the notes.
For instance, let’s say you have 20 days to submit an assignment. So, keep the first five days for finding all the sources you would need to write your paper. Save the next five days from the preliminary research related to your topic. That will leave you with ten days to write your paper and that is more than enough.
2. Wikipedia is just a tiny fragment of research material
Wikipedia is okay when you are just starting out your research, or perhaps you are new to the topic. It helps you get a brief overview of the topic. Wikipedia prepares you to get hold of data from other credible sources out there. So, instead of hooking on to Wikipedia only, try checking out other sources too.
Here are the top five alternatives to Wikipedia:
- Encyclopedia Britannica Online
- MSN Encarta
It is better not to stay limited to the research included in Wikipedia only. The hyperlinked nature of this website lets you browse through the links and follow their suggested resources as well. So, make the most of your curiosity to research beyond Wikipedia. Also, avoid citing the same in your paper.
3. Having a research question is extra beneficial
You may have to craft a thesis statement while writing your assignments. And this statement governs the overall context in your paper. Similarly, a research question governs the overall direction and quality of your research. Thus, figure out a research question while conducting the research for your paper to make sure you get hold of the right data.
How does the research question work?
- Every time you gather new data, think if it answers your research question. You can use it in your paper if it does.
- At times, certain information may seem relevant to your topic, but may not answer your research question. In that case, you need to put that data back where it was.
- You may come across a lot of background information that you won’t need. Having a research question makes it way easier for you to choose the information that really contributes to the context of your paper.
4. Sources with bibliographies in them are what you need
There are tons of sources out there related to your topic. You don’t need all of them. Do you? It could be hard for you to skim through all the sources and then figure out the relevant ones. Instead, pick one relevant source and look up the bibliography sections at the end of that source. Bibliographies can help you with accurate and relevant information effortlessly. You can click through the bibliographies only if the title sounds relevant to your topic. However, make sure you cite the sources even if you paraphrase them in your document. You can also use tools such as Chicago citation maker or Harvard citation generator.
5. Figure out the resources available online and offline
Your university library may or may not have all kinds of resources that you may need to write your paper. So, you have to understand which resources are available to you. That way, you don’t have to wait till the last minute to gather the right data. Walk through your university library to know which resource is present online and which are offline.
Do not forget to pay special attention to the periodicals and microfilm repository. You would need the latter two for most of your research projects. With the pandemic looming around the corner, it is safe to say that schools and colleges may not let you loiter around their libraries. So, check out the resources that you can assess online. Most university libraries also have a wide academic database that is also accessible online.
6. One section at a time
You are most likely to divide your work into specific sections while writing an assignment. You may start with the introduction and end with a conclusion. It’s the same thing when you research. Don’t try to manage all the aspects of your topic at once. Understand the topic first. Note down the significant aspects of that topic and conduct research for each topic each day. Focusing on each section each day lets you find connections between all the sections you want to include in your paper.
7. Ideas can crop up anytime
I worked on a ‘Climate Change’ research project a few months back and I got relevant ideas at the least convenient times like while I was in the bathroom or was baking a cake. Ideas can crop in your mind even if you aren’t consciously thinking about it. So, keep a small notebook and pen handy. You can write down your ideas no matter how vague it seems like. Finally, transfer your ideas in your research log and see if it helps you in the research process.
8. Asking for help never hurts anyone
Did you know that most professors expect their students to ask for help, especially in the research process? They love to share their knowledge and also it leaves a strong impression on your teachers. You can consult with them regarding the credibility of the research material you have already gotten hold of. They can evaluate whether the material is fit for your assignment or not. They can also help you provide you with relevant resources in case you don’t have any.
9. Updates information always has an upper hand
Supervisors expect you to use updated information in your paper since that shows you are interested in the field or topic you are writing about. So, pay attention to the publication date of the source you are using for your paper. However, it is okay if you use older material, but it shouldn’t be older than ten years.
What if you get all your references from over ten years old?
- That can happen because the researcher might have died or funding opportunities disappeared. In that case, you need to type the name of those researchers on Google and see if you can find their homepages.
- Some results may also consist of current research activities or recent publications by the same author or on the same topic.
- You can also try out an inter-library loan or contact the researcher. Don’t be rude. Explain first what exactly you are trying to find out and where your current research has taken out.
10. Great tools can come in handy too
Academic research is time-consuming. But, the process can be faster if you have a smartphone along with an Internet connection. Here are some tools that can make the process of conducting research faster and easier.
- Zotero – This one lets you add the resources in your personal library with a single click. From pre-prints to a book from your university library, this tool has got all kinds of sites covered.
- Endnote – This one consists of all the features you would need to search, organize and share your research. You can also create bibliographies while writing your next paper.
- Mendeley – This one helps you organize your research and collaborate with other researchers online. You can also discover the updated research findings related to your topic.
Research is not just about getting hold of any books or articles and use the information in your assignments. It means knowing which sources will contribute to the quality of your assignment and which sources you can exclude despite their relevance to your topic. Remember, your supervisors will be more than happy to help you if you aren’t able to get the hang of this process initially.
Author – Penny Epps is an assistant professor at a reputed university in the United Kingdom. She also offers research paper help to students at Allessaywriter.com. Penny loves to spend time with her daughters whenever she is free.