Are you prepared to write your first research paper? Be proactive by following these four steps to prepare a high-quality and comprehensive paper.
Here are four steps to walk you through how to start your research paper—from determining the sources you’ll need to choose resources available to you.
Step 1: Acknowledge your inner researcher
If you’ve ever bought a car, then you have done the research. You determined what information you needed and where you could find it, sifted through and selected certain information, and then used what you found to make an informed decision.
College-level research is very similar. First, you should determine what type of information you need, then evaluate sources to select ones that work best for your audience, purpose, and format. In today’s digital age, information is everywhere, so you’ll need to be savvy about the resources you use. HOW SAVVY? Select sources and authors that are highly regarded as informative and engaging.
Step 2: Think ahead—what sources will you need?
Evaluate your assignment details. Is your instructor asking for your opinion, or for researched facts? Does the assignment description ask you to cite your sources? These are all clues telling you what type of research you should conduct.
There are several types of sources you can use.
Type of Sources
These are very valuable to you as a student. They include interviews with experts, research articles that present studies conducted by the authors themselves, conference proceedings, and videos.
These include journals of primary articles written for scholars, for scholarly use typically found in library collections and academic journals online. These are very high-quality sources, but it may take some practice reading and understanding them.
Include books or overview articles written for the general public. They can either direct you to primary sources or give you helpful information such as statistics or quotes.
Pass by a newsstand and you’ll see newspapers and magazines. Be wary of these sources: While easier to read and understand, they can get the story wrong, be biased, or oversimplify a topic. Once you have an idea of what sources you’ll need for your assignment, you’re ready to head over to your best friends when it comes to research – the Library and the internet.
Step 3: Visit the Library (at the Virtual Campus)
The library is the go-to hub of information for students.
The libraries of our partner American universities – American InterContinental University and Trident University – are home to articles, books, and websites already carefully selected for your use. It also offers research guides and tutorials, citation resources, and classes to help you learn how to use the Library to your benefit. You will gain access to materials that you’d not easily find through Google; and even better, everything in the Library is available to you at no additional cost!
So if you need to do research for an assignment or cite a credible source, bypass Google and go straight to the Virtual Campus (VC) of these universities.
In the Library, you can find:
● 30 full-text electronic research databases, housing hundreds of thousands of articles from a variety of different scholarly journals
● Thousands of full textbooks
● A large collection of reference resources, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias
Research guides and web resources are categorized by subject or program. Take a look around; you are sure to find the resources you need for your assignment. If you’re not one for exploring on your own, the librarians also offer tours to show students all the features and benefits of the Library.
Step 4: Contact a Librarian
When it comes to proper research, the librarians of our partner universities are a vital contact. They are available to provide research assistance 7 days a week to help you find the resources and information you need. By phone, email, or IM, they can help you through the “research” part of your assignments.
Librarians also hold library tours and chats, which include:
● Overviews of resources that are beneficial to students in specific programs;
● Course-specific library chats to help with specific assignments;
The Librarians also create print and video tutorials to help you locate the information and resources you need for your assignments. Equally important, they can help you develop keywords or search terms to help you learn to find those resources on your own.
With these four steps under your belt, you’re ready to jump into your research paper.
Above all, remember that if you don’t know where to start your research or you need help finding information, simply ask a librarian. They can help guide you to the resources you need.
This article was written by American InterContinental University (AIU).
Destiny Education is a partner of the American InterContinental University system
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