What Questions Do You Want to Answer?
Were you given a research topic? If so, a huge hurdle has been overcome. However, if you were not given a topic, you must decide what it is that you want to find out about the topic. In that case, you will need to brainstorm. Has anyone done this research before you did? What is available out there on this topic? For example, “recess”. Who needs recess more, teachers or students? Fundamentally, research is designed to answer questions. Therefore, if you were not given questions to answer, you will have to create your own.
Read Everything That You Can Find.
Based on the questions that you have to answer, you will need to read all that you can find about those questions. Visit your local library, speak to a librarian, and let them know about the questions that you are trying to answer. Check websites such as Academia.edu, Quora, Twitter, StackExchange and Linkedin to find experts in that field.
Make Sure to Consult Reputable Sources.
There is nothing worse than citing something for your research paper, only to find out that it is not a reputable source. Especially in this day and age where your answers may just be a click away. Ask yourself: is this site reputable? That is a question that you must ask each time you visit a website.
Record and Keep Track of Sources.
Keep detailed notes and summaries based on what you have read, on the sources that you used for your research. You can use bookmarking sites such as Pinterest, Facebook, Evernote, Google Scholar, etc. to bookmark and take notes on the various sources that you are using in your research paper. It is very important that you cite the sources from which you are quoting.
Include Data and Statistics.
Always try to include data and statistics in your research. This information can be used to place things into perspective. Also, data will also prove to your audience that you spent much time researching this topic, and they too can visit those resources if they want to get additional information on a specific source in your references.
As stated above, you can find experts in your field by utilizing trust worthy websites if you are over 13 years of age. If you are younger than that, you may need to consult an adult for support. You can use websites listed in the step above to connect with experts in the various fields that you are researching. There may even be experts in your community as well. It would be great to connect with an expert in Liberia if you are studying Ebola, for example.
Decide How You Want to Tell Your Story.
How do you want to tell your story to your audience? The way in which your story will be told will impact the way in which you structure your paper. There are many tools around to vary the way in which you present when you are ready.
Write Your Paper.
Captivate your readers, and wow them with your writing process. Create engaging subheadings for longer papers to keep your readers interested in finding out more. Give your audience a reason to engage with your content.
Use Electronic Media to Enhance Your Story.
People are more likely to consume enhanced digital media such as sound, video and pictures. Therefore, if necessary try to identify experts who would be willing to be recorded for your project. Additionally, you could even transform your entire project and have an alternative version that is media enhanced.
Avoid Potential Plagiarism
Always give credit to the original authors of content in your work by using in-text citations and a bibliography, or list of references.