1. Manage time wisely.
Because research projects are often spread out over the course of weeks, it is very important that students set deadlines and follow them. Reading, taking notes, citing sources, and synthesizing information takes more time than you think! Students who wait until the last minute to complete work are more likely to commit plagiarism.
2. Create a system for organizing materials.
There are many pieces of information to juggle in a research project, so it is very important to track ideas, sources, and citation information. There are tools to help you achieve this, such as the outline and notecard feature in NoodleTools
3. Engage with your sources.
The purpose of research is to learn something new and gain perspective on a topic; it is not simply to list a source on a bibliography. You will only understand your topic when you read widely and deeply, and then process that information through writing and analysis in your notes. This deep understanding will be reflected in your final paper, presentation, or project.
4. Follow ethical guidelines in the use and presentation of information.
In other words, give credit for ideas or work (including photos, music, video, or other media) that is not your own in both in-text citation and in your Works Cited page or bibliography. Also, it is important to follow copyright guidelines. Giving credit for work that is not yours is a scholarly and an ethical obligation. Unintentional plagiarism, while accidental, is still plagiarism, and can be brought before the Honor Council.
5. Be persistent.
Research is a messy process, and you have to be creative in your approach to finding information. Not everything is available on the internet, and sometimes you have to dig for relevant, quality information in multiple places. If you cannot find what you are looking for, seek help. The librarians are trained to help you find information.
Not finding what you're looking for? Try these tips:
Note: The URL in the address box at the top of the screen is not stable for databases; if you copy and paste it into a document to use it later, the link will not take you back to the original article. Use the tools of the database to bookmark, print, email, or download the article. This simple step will save you time and frustration!