Good research and writing is always a key ingredient towards the success and quality of a project. Students fail in projects and other examination simply because they lack important skills when it comes to research and writing. Success of any project in research and writing requires the student to follow five important steps, namely; clarify the requirements, search effectively, delve and evaluate the materials obtained, and cite the sources.
When clarifying the requirements of the task at hand, it is important for the students to take their time to understand the exact information they intend to present. It is important to note that, in an event that the student fails to understand the actual information, the whole research is wrong. A good example of requirement clarification is being keen to the keywords or alternative phrases used on the instructions provided. Students should never be in a hurry to start on research before they understand the gist of the question. The time that the student spends trying to define the task could lead to a streamlined and a more effective research process.
Google search could seem like a basic task, but understanding the quality of search term that will lead quality results makes all the difference. Students should have the knowledge of effective searching techniques for effective research and writing. Some examples of these techniques include; searching the required information within a specified website, phrase search, definitions search, the use of OR operator, and searching specific files (xls, doc, ppt or pdf). Students with good searching skills not only saves time, but also gets the most required information for their research and writing.
Once the student has landed on the most reliable sites for the research, it is important for the students to know where or what to click. It is always important to look beyond the first results that appear on the list. This is because most websites utilize search engine optimization in order to improve their pages visibility in search. Students should also include their intuition when deciding reliability of the domain. For example, students should know that some sites are for opinion or forum. Therefore, the most reliable sources for effective research are those with domains including .edu or .gov.
Once the student gets the most appropriate site, the next important task is searching for specific information that will help in the research at hand. It is important for the student to always remember that, not all information they read is credible. Therefore, there is need for the student to use multiple source in order to verify facts obtained from one source. In order for the student to evaluate the website effectively, the first important step is to skim read the site opened. This helps the student to determine whether the text opened is understandable. Scanning and Skimming is an extremely important tool of literacy education because through skimming majority of people are able to get the content. Students should also determine whether the information obtained answer their research question or a word-processing job. Finally, it is always important for the student to evaluate the credibility of the website or author. An example of things to look for when evaluating credibility are; author information, source, design, and domain.
In general, the students must be equipped with the necessary skills regarding proper citing of their research. Students are warned against copy and pasting the information obtained from various sources and they are encouraged to follow ethical guidelines during their studies. Copy and pasting of the materials reduces the quality of the student's research due to copyright infringement and plagiarism. It is important to understand that attribution of sources serves a tool for checking facts. Citation makes a student a better researcher. Finally, good citation practices makes a student a better writer.