Conducting research is a part of life for every online college student. Research used to be more simplistic, but the internet has added limitless options for accessing information. Being a good researcher will help you in your academic and work career. Finding access to quality information quickly will be a skill set you will use the rest of your life. It’s becoming increasingly important because there’s so much misinformation available – so rightly dividing the accurate from inaccurate is critical.
1. Set up a schedule
Waiting until the last minute to do your research report will lead to sloppy research. The first thing is to set a date with specific milestones.
2. Begin with Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a great place to START. It’s not the most trusted source, but it will give you a good idea of what the topic is. It will also have some sound resources you can pull from.
3. Data mining
Find some good bibliographies in text books written by academics in the field. They love using tons of sources. One good academic book and you’re golden. Skim the bibliography and you’ll find some awesome resources that are surely credible.
4. Keep a research question in mind
Once you get into your research you should begin formulating your thesis. As you delve into the information it should start triggering research questions in your mind that you can use to guide you along your journey.
5. Don’t pile yourself in books
Once you find some credible sources don’t feel like you have to use every one. Too much research will leave you and your paper frazzled and fragmented. Look at one or two pieces of research at a time.
6. Data organization
Keep all of your sources written in one location in a nice and neat manner. This will help you keep organized and in control. You don’t want to find some great resources and then not be able to find them.
7. Know the library
The internet will never replace a good library. Most students do not know how to properly use the library. Make a visit to your local library and ask for a quick tour as well as how to use the reference section.
8. Get help
Most professors of online classes are very helpful with research. Most are research experts and have a lot of great advice to share. Leveraging them could help propel your research forward much quicker.
9. Write down ideas
A research topic has a way of getting into your mind. If you get an idea or research question you have to be prepared to write it down. Ideas and questions can arise at any time. Use your phone or carry a notebook with you.
10. Watch your dates
A lot of academic research is older so watch your dates. You want to use material no older than 10 years older. Its okay to use older information, but don’t make the bulk of your research older than a decade.