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Research Skills

Through a research project, you learn how to:

  • Manage your time.
  • Distinguish between valid and invalid sources.
  • Take notes.
  • Organize your thoughts.
  • Put ideas into your own words.
  • Make a compelling argument.
  • Think analytically.
  • Cite your sources.
  • Present ideas.
  • Be responsible.

 

Research is...

Research is a methodical investigation into a subject. 

The purpose is discovery, to check facts, and/or reach new conclusions.  “Methodical” means there’s a method to the madness.  Research requires that you use multiple sources.  You can’t verify facts if you only use one source.  If your paper has a thesis, you will use your research to prove an argument and form a conclusion. 

Research is not:

  • A list of facts.   
  • A book report.  
  • A restatement of events.  
  • An examination of one source.  
  • An opinion piece. 
  • Finding something online, moving the paragraphs around, and changing the words.  That is called plagiarism!

What Is a Research Paper and What Do I Do?

These 10 steps correspond with the Tabs above:

  1. Pre-research.
  2. The Beginning Cycle:  Select and define your topic.  Read background information.  Write some questions about your topic.  Develop a keywords list.
  3. Develop an essential question.
  4. Search, access, and evaluate information from a variety of sources, compiling a list of citations as you go (use Easybib).
  5. Take notes.  Keep them organized using a method.
  6. Finalize a thesis statement.
  7. Make an outline from your notes.
  8. Use the outline to write a rough draft.  Include parenthetical citations.
  9. Use the research checklist to evaluate your product.
  10. Finish the final draft.

Research Process Diagram

Subject Guide

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Jennifer Jourdain
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Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School
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