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How much and the type of research you need to do will vary with each assignment. There is no single way to do research, but the tips below will help make your research more effective.
When you are researching it is good to have a question in mind to inform what you are looking for. Look at your assignment question and analyse it to ensure you know what it means and what is expected of you. Ask yourself:
When you look at the question, think about whether you need to find information that is fact, opinion, personal reflections, news or other reports, analyses, or something different. Also check how much information you need to find.
This may depend on:
When you start searching for information, brainstorm what you already know:
Tip: Try using a mind map to brainstorm the topic and to identify what you know and what you need to know.
As well as looking in your learning materials for information, you could also try:
Tip: Wikipedia can be a helpful starting place for your research. While it is not always considered the best source of information, good pages have references that can lead you to more information.
Start by skim reading what you've found to evaluate it and make sure it really is what you need. Once you sure it's relevant, then it's time for more in depth reading.
Keep a list of everything you read, including information on what you decide not to use. Note down:
This way you’ll remember what you’ve tried, and won’t waste time going back to resources that weren't useful.
Tip: Make sure you include sufficient information to compile a bibliography or reference list, including the author, title, edition, publisher, date, ISBN, website.
Introduction to research – Cornell University Library website (opens in new window)
What is primary research and how do I get started? - Purdue Online Writing Lab website (opens in new window)