How to Develop Research Skills

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Research is a fundamental academic requirement of a college or university student. It is important to develop effective research skills to be able to easily find information that is valuable, reliable and from trustworthy sources. As a student you need to learn how to clarify and validate scholarly materials sourced either on the Internet or on print; always checking references to give credibility to their work.

1. Primary Research

Primary research narrows down your topic to specific keywords. It is what gives your research basis and it has to provide credible references that address your specific topic. An initial primary research will help you in defining terms and gaining a broader understanding of the topic. It will guide you towards what is relevant, as well as broaden your understanding of your topic of research.  This way, you will also be led to other advanced scholarly materials you can review.

2. Find Scholarly Articles

Part of your research should include scholarly work that has been critically studied and reviewed. For peer reviews to find a place in academic journals, they undergo extended periods of critical appraisal and evaluation to ensure their credibility and reliability. Library databases will help you in narrowing down your search to the peer reviews that are only relevant to your research. You can also locate scholarly articles on the web using verified and credible links.

3. Assess Relevance and Credibility

Relevance, credibility and accuracy are skills that you have to hone in your research. Authors whose scholarly articles you review and refer to must have their credentials and academic degrees verified. Information that you use needs to be current to avoid any contradictions with newer findings in that particular field. For statistical data, locations and dates always ensure that the information is correct. There are sources that quote or list a secondary source; always research that source to validate it. A variety of credible sources instead of just one source gives credence to your research; quote a number of credible sources.

4. Recording, Documenting and Citing Your References

A proper research is well recorded, and all references, interviews, resources and publications documented. Your research instructor may require you to include a bibliography in your research which saves you the trouble of later looking for the sources you used. Make it easy by writing down specific volumes, chapters and pages to reference them easily as you write the paper. It is important to keep an ongoing list of your sources, authors, academic journals and websites as you can refer to them for other future assignments in that field.

Conducting research is an opportunity to meet new people. It is not easy to find experts, but once you do, it is a rewarding part of your research venture. You get the opportunity to speak to the best and brightest who will furnish you with all that you need to know. Remember to establish the background of your expert; some sources may not be interested in diverging information. Establishing who is who and what value they will add to your research is vital.