Understand the research process
When you undertake research you are learning more about finding the evidence you need to uphold your argument. In order to undertake your research successfully you need to have a strategy. When first time students undertake research they often neglect to develop their own strategy for completing their project/assignment and proceed haphazardly, in fits and starts, without an overall plan.
Here is a list of steps you will need to take when you undertake your research (Davidson 2002):
Choose your topic - When choosing your topic think about what it is that you are interested in. If you care about the subject you are researching, then any other obstacles you may encounter in your research will seem easier to overcome. Think about the length of your paper or presentation and the types of sources that you will need before you make the final decision on your topic.
- Refine your search - Once you have settled on your topic, you need to formulate your question or argument and to look for more specific pieces of evidence to support your opinions and claims. To really defend your ideas, you must also present and refute existing counter-arguments.
- Utilise the right sources - In order to articulate your ideas, defend your own argument and refute counter-arguments, you will need to identify the most appropriate sources of material to help you. In order to identify the most appropriate material you will need to evaluate your search results (see Finding and evaluating sources).
- Start writing - The next step in the research process is to document the validity of your position, and crediting those whose work you have used to establish your position (see How to use sources when writing). To do this you will need to apply the appropriate referencing style for your discipline to your work. It is important to check with your lecturer to find out what referencing system you should use as it may vary from School to School. For more information about referencing, visit the Student Learning website.
Plagiarism detection software is another way of checking that you are maintaining academic integrity. Visit UTAS'Turnitin website for information on this valuable tool.