Tips Help You Get Research

Remember when you first got it?

A feeling of euphoria pumped you up as you thought, “Okay, give me something else! I can do it!”

If you feel you’re getting in a slump and not sure what direction to take, here are some ideas about researching your career.

According to Taking Charge: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life, your level of success in college will be greatly affected by your ability to research and use information well, whether looking for information on a career or for a research paper in school. With that in mind, here are a few steps to organize your research:

  • Start broad. Choose any source, such as an encyclopedia. Remember, though, that for scholarly research, Wikipedia is not considered a credible source. Using it, though, may help point you to another source.
  • Search for books on your topic. This is where you will learn how valuable keywords can be. Using your library’s online catalog, enter keywords related to your topic.
  • Look for newspaper, journal, and magazine articles. These are primary sources and can be found both online and in print at your local or school library.
  • Make use of the Internet to find information. Beforehand, though, check with your instructor to see if there are sites not allowed in research papers, etc. Of course, if this is for self-research, anything goes!
  • Evaluate the information you find. For starters, make sure the information is current. Also evaluate the author of the material. What is the author’s reputation?
  • Cite your sources. Even if you are not directly quoting from a source, always refer to where you got your information.

As you gather all your information, use note cards or record on your computer to organize the notes. I like to place a star by quotes I particularly like. That next star just may be your month’s “aha” moment that will launch you even further into your career of your choice.

-Sheila

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