By Jessica Vainer
It sometimes seems that being a student and researching things are two synonymous concepts because when you are a student, you are simply forced to do a lot of academic exploration. This is how the modern system of education works; you have to research things even if you are not interested in them. Research for college students is an essential activity, but it is not always that pleasant to embark upon. What is more, writing research papers can become a real challenge, as they are the pinnacle of the research process. Hence, this article features several research tips for college students that you might find useful in your academic life.
Start with Wikipedia
Regardless of how awkward it might sound, Wikipedia can become a good friend of yours when it comes to online research. This is a world-wide known storage of information that can provide you with an initial insight about what you are about to study. Of course, it should not be used as a source on your list of references, but it can definitely show you the direction to move further in your studies.
Of course, if your professor saw Wikipedia on the list of works cited, he or she will go mental about it. Still, nobody says you have to omit Wikipedia as an unofficial source of information. It contains millions of articles on any topic you can only think of. What is more, the majority of those articles are quite professional written and constantly updated. So, there you go! This free-of-charge database is at your disposal.
Schedule Your Research
You may find it hard to believe, but research can and actually should follow a schedule. For example, if you were to pay someone for a research paper, you would definitely expect them to write in a step-wise manner. So, you should definitely plan your studies. Let’s say that you have to submit a paper in two weeks. It would be wise to spend an hour a day researching the information needed, instead of spending the night before the deadline in an academic rush. Sure, you can pay someone to write a research paper in order to have yourself a proper example of how it should look. As a matter of fact, it is another tip for you. Having a professionally written example to follow might actually change your writing experience to the core.
Follow the Structure
It is very often that a professor might not even look at your research paper’s content if he or she sees that it is not properly structured. So, following the structure is among the most important research tips for students:
- Materials and Methods
- Tables and Figures (optional)
Mind Your Research Question
It often happens that students forget about the central question while writing their papers. Hence, it is of the utmost importance for you to stay focused. Everything that you do while conducting a research must be aimed at answering the research question. Of course, you shall search for some additional information that does not directly answer your question but provides the opportunities for commenting on it extensively. Still, the bulk of your work must pursue the task of answering the research question.
Listen, here comes a rule that the majority of students somehow fail to find mandatory to follow. If your college research is about some neoteric technologies or someone who was born at the end of the 20th century, your sources cannot come from the 1970s. The rule of a thumb to use here is that your sources should not be older than five years. That is, if you have to write a paper in 2019, make sure that your oldest source comes from 2014.
Of course, there might be exceptions outside of the general rule. For example, you are tasked with analyzing and comparing two works of literature that were written in the 19th century. Sure enough, the majority of your sources would be older than required. Nonetheless, it is acceptable in situations like these. If you are writing about something old, then your sources are allowed to break the rule of “the last five years”.
Asking for Help is Normal
There is nothing wrong about asking somebody to help you with your researching endeavors. For example, you can ask a librarian at your college or university to advise you with the very best sources that will fit your requirements. Or you can order a custom paper to be written by the professionals and use it as an example for the future. It is absolutely normal to acknowledge one’s weaknesses and thus turn them into strengths.
If you fall ill, you go to the doctor, right? Because you have not been trained to cure people. The rule is perfectly applicable if you are a student, as well. Especially, if you are a freshman, you have not been trained to write research papers, so make sure that you make no tragedy from asking someone else to help you.
Whenever it comes to writing a research paper, there is a need to understand that it is an art that sometimes takes years to be mastered. Writing professional and top-notch papers is a tall order to cope with, and sometimes people who are tasked with researching something for the first time, stumble upon a lot of barriers on their way towards a successfully written paper.
Thus, you have to keep your research process scheduled and organized. You should constantly remember that asking for help is normal and that nobody is going to judge you for this. Planning your research in advance might be a brilliant idea and, what is more, do not forget about the structure. If you follow those tips, your research paper will surely look decent, but don’t you forget that at the end of the day, it is all about the effort that you put into writing.