Define your Research
How you carry out research largely depends on the project. As with many things we discuss, there is no absolute right or wrong way to research.
We are often asked for advice by readers, so I have put together some information on the topic to help you.
According to the English Oxford dictionary, research is defined as “the systematic investigation into and study of materials and resources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions”.
Research is the key to any project, and the final result will be a function of the quality of your research. To research effectively, plan your project so you make good use of your time and resources.
Scope out the project
You need to scope out the project you are researching. What are you trying to research? How you do that will depend on the nature of the project.
If it is a college project, such as a thesis, you probably have the ability to define the scope yourself. In this case, you can cast your net wide in the research. and to some extent “follow your nose “and see where it takes you.
If you are researching some specific aspect of a case for business reasons, or because it is a specified college assignment, you will need to define your scope and narrow your research.
In both cases, your early reading and research will help you to scope out the project, it will take shape as you progress.
You may well find you want to refine the topic, its scope, and your search strategy as the research progresses.
Search on the internet
Many of you will be familiar with internet searches, but for those of you who are not here are a few tips.
First select a search engine by opening the window that you use to access the internet and type search engines into the Search Bar.
Once the search engine is opened then type in a phrase describing what your search is, e.g. how to do an internet search effectively or type in a few key words or phrases such as internet search. Or search internet
Click the Search icon in the browser bar or press the Enter key on your keyboard. then assess your results
Search through the web pages shown, deciding which are relevant to you. Take some notes (we will discuss this again later).
Here are some search tips;-
- Search engines are not case sensitive, do not need punctuation, do not take account of words like the and and
- You can use the advanced search facility
- Not all search engines will give you the same results so you may want to try several
- You can use a minus sign (-) before a word to “omit a word,” such as recipe -meat for vegetarian recipes
- You can use a plus sign (+) before a word to view each word separately e.g. +vegetarian+stuffed + peppers
- Use quotation marks, to indicate you want to search a phrase, rather than get results which have only one of the words in the phrase e.g.“vegetarian stuffed peppers”. This means you will not get searches relating to vegetarian only, or peppers only.
- You can write a question e.g. How do I search the internet?
- You can bookmark any sites of interest.
Each browser may be slightly different, but in general, when you are on a webpage you want to bookmark click bookmark in the browser, then Select add bookmark from the drop-down menu. Name the bookmark, and select the folder where you want to save it
Follow what interests you and is relevant to you. You will often find that you carry on into different search areas as you read and learn more. This is how you will define your research.