Hello everyone! Today’s video will focus on research techniques for school and how to get the best sources and materials for your papers and essays. The two most important things in conducting a good research online are organization and finding reliable sources. When I start my research, the first thing I do is create a new folder on my Mac, title it Bibliography or References and color code it with an orange mark so I know I am currently working on that folder.
Then I save that folder directly to my desktop so I can clearly see that I am making progress on that work every time I open my laptop. The second thing you need to do is ask yourself the basic methodology questions: What do I need to get to answer my research question? How and there will I get it?
Do I have all the tools I need to get it? And if not, how do I get the tools? Then it’s time to plan out the hierarchy in your research.
Most research tends to be supported by at least a couple of well-known references and literature. These can be textbooks from well-known scholars, articles recommended by your professor and any other references commonly considered to be relevant. Your paper does not necessarily need to be based on these references but it should not go against them, unless you are brilliantly prepared to state in your essay why they are wrong. These textbooks and articles will be the common ground for your research and they will be the foundation for everything you will find next.
They are there to guide you in finding more references and make sure you stay on track with the facts and the most common theories on the matter. Afterwards it’s time to start building your research. Since you already have the foundation for your paper, you should now start looking for papers from minor academics around the web to get more ideas from. When I do this, I am not particularly selective. I just look for certain keywords and batch download everything into the research folder I created before. Finding good reliable information around the internet is not always easy but there are a couple of tricks to make sure you are getting the most out of your research sources.
First of all, I like to chain-reference articles and books by always looking into the references of each paper. For instance, if one of my foundational textbooks has a list of references from other authors, I can be certain that those sources are legitimate to use in my own paper. When I go to those sources, they will probably have a list of references of their own, so I will also look into those and see what I can draw from them. Although this might not be a very creative process in finding information, it’s a good way to produce legitimate work without taking risks.
For credible sources around the web I have found an article with a hundred credible databases on different topics like maths, science, law, social sciences and history. You can find it by clicking the link provided in the description box. Organizing your research can be daunting as you are collecting dozens or hundreds of references, articles, pages, quotes and so on.
If you are doing all of this digitally, having software that can help you with this can be very beneficial in the long-run. Weava partnered with me today to show you how you can easily organize all of your research with a simple chrome extension. Weava lets you highlight information in your browser and color code it according to topic, type of content and so on. The built-in tab allows you to organize all of your sources in folders and subfolders, allows you to quickly go back to all the sources you reference and even create citations directly with their built-in software, so you can introduce them in your footnotes and reference list with the click of one button. The best thing is that Weava offers a free and a paid service so you can adjust your research needs according too your budget. The paid subscription allows for more highlighting colors, unlimited folders and subfolders, more storage and collaboration support, but if you research only from time to time, you can get away with the functionalities of the free service and still create a very cohesive and organized research.
As I said before, I like to batch download and reference all the information I can find on certain keywords and topics but I know for sure that not all of that information will be relevant, important or even correct. That is why I filter all of those documents on a second moment by going through each of them and look through certain elements to understand whether I should keep that particular file or trash it.
I am looking for papers produced in suitable scientific environments, so for instance papers published in academic journals, well-referenced and well-written papers. After I apply that first filter, I start searching for certain keywords and sentences within the paper so I understand whether that particular work answers my questions or adds anything particularly relevant to the sources I already have. And believe me that after all of that, I probably reduced in half all of the bibliography I had collected before and I am now certain that I have all the resources I need to write a good paper.
I hope you enjoyed today’s research tips. If you would like to know how I am currently using the new 2018 ipad for school work, be sure to check out next week’s video as I will be going through the main features that I have been loving so far