Research. It’s something almost every class requires, and a task that becomes almost routine to students by the time they graduate. But routine can sometimes result in old habits dying hard, with students falling into the same old customs every time they do any investigative work.
The solution? Staying progressive in the research lab. Here are 4 strategies to start with that can help strengthen senior projects, term papers, and anything else that is sure to get thrown your way.
The fastest way to get research-fatigue is to begin your search too broadly. Instead of using terms like “20th century bridges” to start your research, use as specific terms as possible and ones you may be most interested in, like “Golden Gate Bridge,” for example. When you’ve exhausted these searches, then slowly begin widening your scope.
When you’ve reached a stop in your research, check out the sources of the sources that you already have. These valuable footnotes can lead to completely new databases and, in some cases, are a strategic way of finding credibility through sites like Wikipedia, databases that are often not accepted by professors.
Annotating and Abstracting
You don’t need to be planning to publish your thesis or presentation to reap the benefits of annotating and abstracting your research. Jot down in bullet-point form short summaries of your sources as you research – what part of your argument they apply to, how many statistics they contain, etc. This will make actually implementing your findings into your work that much easier when the time comes.
Researching to write
Too often, students reject sources because they don’t match the ideas they have already developed for their writing. Getting the most out of your research, though, often means developing your argument in conjunction with findings. Be prepared to let articles open up new doors for your writing.
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