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How To Do Research

Research Strategy

Video Thumbnail: Creating a Research Plan
Video: Creating a Research Plan

It’s important to create a research plan before jumping into your research. You should be clear about the purpose of the research: what are you trying to accomplish and what the scope and requirements are for your research project. Being clear about your goals will inform how you go about your research.

Assignment Requirements

The requirements of your assignment should inform your strategy to find information. However, you'll probably have to use more than just the required sources in your research.

Review your assignment as you plan your strategy so that you know how the required sources fit into the larger list of sources you'll need for the writing process.

post-it notesStay Organized, Save Time

Establish a note-taking system that documents author, content, and page numbers of quotations. Keep track of which ideas belong to you and which come from other sources. Organize the quotations and references you want to use in your paper and build your bibliography or works cited page as you read.   

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  • Use colored note cards or post-it notes to keep track of one author, theme, or idea throughout all your sources.
  • Send citations and articles to your own email account; create an inbox folder for each assignment.
  • Create your works cited page first; when you locate relevant books, articles, or websites, copy the citations into the document.
  • Use a zip or thumb drive to save recent drafts of your paper and works cited page.
  • Keep a copy of your paper and works cited page in your email inbox; each time you make changes, send a new copy to yourself and delete the older draft.