Welcome to high school! The times when it was enough to find good sources to get a high grade are long gone, and now you have to master the skill of adult research. How does it differ from merely searching for the information? The key to distinguishing search and research is in the researcher’s ability to compare, contrast, and appraise their findings, producing a synthetic evaluation thereof.
But don’t worry; research only sounds intimidating. Overall, it is part and parcel of the educational process, and embracing this skill will do you a favor many times in further studies. Experts of law assignment service have prepared some handy tips to help you excel in research. Use them all and get to new heights of analytical thinking and professional literature searching.
Narrow Down the Question
Research is impossible without a clear set of keywords; Google doesn’t understand what you want from it, and neither does your library search engine. To translate your idea into something intelligible for a machine, condense your idea into a couple of clear and relevant keywords.
Let’s consider an example. You’re taking a psychology class and want to explore the impact of exposure to child abuse on the academic performance at college. So, your research question is likely to look like this:
Do adolescents subject to abuse in childhood study worse in college than students not subjected to abuse?
Or like this:
Is there an association between abuse in childhood and worse performance in college?
Entering the entire phrase into Google search can work, yielding some valuable findings, but still, you can quicken and simplify the process by focusing on “college performance” and “child abuse” keywords only.
Next comes the formulation of your inquiry in a technically understandable way. Machine algorithms don’t perceive words and phrases like people do. They are more focused on the content words and connections between them. Consequently, you will achieve the best search results if you show clear links between the terms. For instance, continuing with our example, you may type something like:
Child abuse AND college performance
Impact AND child abuse AND college performance
In this way, your computer will understand that you’re looking for associations between the keywords.
Combine Keywords Properly
Boolean operators may seem to be rocket science at first, but once you master their use, you’ll become a research guru. They help narrow down the search results exactly to the items you need, thus ousting all the waste from your search and saving you tons of time. Here are some examples:
- Use if you want the database to include several word modifications into the search (e.g., child may refer to both child and children, or teen will cover teen, teens, and teenager).
- Use OR if some concepts in your search are interchangeable. In our example, higher education can be college or university, so you can indicate it as follows: college OR university.
- Use – to avoid unnecessary results. For instance, if you want to explore only child abuse without including sexual abuse, insert the search terms as follows: child abuse -sexual
Do Extensive Research
While research is essentially about searching for the literature on your topic, it is still unique in the way you approach the sources you find. Extensive research means that you approach multiple sources of multiple types to give as broad coverage to your topic as possible. A typical high school assignment may require the use of several sources, including:
- A book on the subject
- A peer-reviewed academic journal
- A reliable website
Once you get such an assignment, you can search Google Books and Google Scholar to get the first two types of resources, while a regular Google search will yield you the set of websites on the topic. Use the same keyword combination to get consistent results across databases. Another valuable Google search technique is to focus only on .edu or .gov websites for getting reliable, credible information.
Critically Appraise Your Bindings
Once you get a set of resources for further analysis, the time comes to evaluate them critically and determine their educational value for your research. It is vital to appraise every resource you find because the Internet is now booming with data, and literally everyone can publish any opinion or information they please. Consequently, the Web is abundant with misleading or openly fake data unskilled students use to back up their academic arguments. Don’t make this mistake; tutors appreciate only top-rated sources.
Experts of writemyessayfor.me recommend using the CRAP (CRAAP) test for each resource you’ve found. The acronym stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose of the source. If you see that the resource is relatively new, relevant to your subject, written by an authoritative figure in your niche, and presenting correct, accurate data – you can use it in the academic writing.
Here you go with the essential tips for jumpstarting your professional research. If you wonder who can write essay for me, click here. Train as much as you can, and you’ll be amazed at the multitude of academically valuable information, correct search can yield. Hone this skill, and your path to college is guaranteed!