Whether you are a student, scholar, or just a person looking to do research on a topic, knowing how to properly do academic research is a critical skill that you will likely find yourself using time and again as your professional and academic career progresses. There is a lot of information out there on the internet, so knowing how to sift through the proper sources to find credible information that you can use in a research paper, dissertation, or article is critical and must be learned if you want your findings to be taken seriously.
The first step to doing academic research is to select your topic. Find your main talking points and determine which supporting information you will need in order to support your assertion. Once you have done that, you will know what you are looking for when you seek out academic sources for your material.
After you have selected a topic, you can get started on the research. There are so many places both physically and digitally that you can go to do this research that it can be hard to know who to trust. We’ll touch more on that later–what you need to know right now is that there are three basic sources of information that you can turn to when doing academic research: websites, libraries, and databases. Obviously, each of these sources has a different kind of data that you can use to find information relating to your topic.
Once you have found some information that you want to use or a source that you want to use to find more information, you need to vet that source and the information that you find to ensure that it is accurate. Usually, a simple cross-reference will work if you want to verify that other sources confirm the same facts. Other times, you will need to do some investigation into the reputation of the source that you are using. It’s usually not too challenging to verify that the source you are using is credible or isn’t credible.
Using these simple steps, you can gain access to the information that you need in order to deliver a quality, well-researched piece of work that follows the same steps as other academics use when they are finding information on a topic.