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Organising your research
This is the "Starting Research" page of the "How to Research" guide.
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How to Research   Tags: research;  

Develop good research skills to raise your grade!
Last Updated: Dec 8, 2016 URL: http://collyers.libguides.com/research Print Guide RSS Updates

Starting Research Print Page


It's often very hard to know just where to start when you've been given your essay or assignment. This section will help you prepare for searching for information on a given topic.

In particular, you will learn how to:

  • analyse your topic
  • define the main ideas (concepts) in an assignment
  • find relevant keywords to use in your search
  • understand the requirements for your assignment
  • create a research action plan

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The Topic or Question

Imagine you have been given one of these topics:
1. The use of DNA technology in forensics
2. The changing concept of childhood from Victorian times

Step 1 - analyse what you have been asked to do e.g. the use of DNA technology in forensics - the topic asks for examples of use not the history of its use; whereas the changing concept of childhood from Victorian times asks for an historical analysis.

It helps to underline the important elements so that you don't  ignore something which is vital.It can also help to turn the topic into a question e.g. What has been the impact of DNA matching on forensic science in the last 20 years? This helps to define the limits of the question.

Step 2 - focus your thoughts. Ask yourself questions about what is required for this topic. For example: -
a) Does the scope need to be limited to Britain or can it be worldwide?
b) What are the main concepts that need to be covered?
c) How many examples do I need to find?
d) What kind of resources will I need to consult to find the best results?
e) Are there any resources I am required to use by the teacher or examiner?
f) How important is the date of the resource for this question?
g) How long have I got for this research. What am I able to achieve in the time?

Selecting a topic video - Youtube, so can't be seen in college. This is American but the advice holds good, but the sources may be not.

Next look at Planning Your Search 


If you are struggling - good advice


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