What Are the Best Ways to Conduct Research

Updated: Nov 9, 2016

Research can be defined as systematic investigation and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. Therefore student at the college or university level must remember that knowing how to perform research is a skill that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Conducting a Research

Research can be defined as systematic investigation and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. Therefore student at the college or university level must remember that knowing how to perform research is a skill that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. And though often tedious in nature, research can help anyone, whether in business settings, and especially in their personal lives and both academic and professional careers. 

Research involves collecting data on a given subject that usually relates to the real world. Data includes information found in surveys, interviews, observations, primary/secondary sources, journals, magazines, and books. In the academic setting, the research obtained on a subject will be used by the student in a paper or essay of some sort. 

Questions to Answer When Conducting a Research:

  • What do I want to discover?
  • How do I plan on discovering it? (Recognized as research methods/methodology.)
  • Who am I going to talk to? Who or what will I be observing? 
  • What are my biases about this topic?
  • How can I make sure my biases are not reflected in my research methods?
  • What do I expect to discover?

Regardless of the assignment, the writer at the college level usually needs to conduct research before anything else – long before they ever put a word on paper. It involves hours spent doing some kind of work to answer a question, which is either determined by the student or the assignment instructions. 

Guidelines for Conducting a Research: 

1.Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many experts and resources on a college campus. The student should if they’re having trouble conducting appropriate research, talk with their professor who has given them the assignment. In most cases that professor will be more than willing to direct them to a good place to start, usually the college’s library or to online academic sources. Librarians are there to help, as well. It is their job to direct students to sources where they can find information on any given subject. 

2.Read extensively on that subject. The more a student reads on a subject, the better they will understand it  – which means they will be better able to write at length on it and in a professional manner. There is a good chance someone else, in the best scenario, a scholar, has researched a subject or topic extensively and has already produced a lengthy treatise on that subject. The student should search for these treatises to learn the basics about this subject, and to understand the issues or controversies that surround it. 

3.Know the reason for gathering the information. This helps the student decide what exactly they are looking for, how much information they need, and what they are going to do with the research they find. Not all the research the student finds needs to be incorporated into their paper; most of the time, research helps a student to better understand a topic in general, which helps make their paper’s content more clear, concise and accurate. 

4.Look for credible sources. This includes being skeptical about the sources the one finds – as not all are helpful, credible or even accurate. Since issues change and evolve, it is also best for a student to obtain and identify scholarly sources that have been currently published. A student unsure of the legitimacy of a source should ask their professor or librarian for help, or to teach them how to identify a worthy scholarly source. 

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