How to do research


Research means to study a problem and find solutions for it. To gain more knowledge about a particular topic, we can use sources like academic papers, books historical records and also newspaper articles. It is also known as doing experiments, conducting surveys and also going for excavations.


Doing research is a systematic process which has some flow in it. It involves planning, analyzing and executing. The flow of the steps can be modified according to you depending on the challenges you face through the process. Research helps you gain new knowledge and deepen your understanding on a particular field in which you are doing research.

Now we can go through the process of how to do research:

Step 1: Identify your topic

In the process of writing a paper, choosing topic is the first step. Selecting a topic is the most challenging task to do; follow the tips mentioned to select the topic:

  1. Topic may be selected as advised by your instructor. They may provide you with instructions like what you can write about a topic and what you cannot write about a topic. In case if you do not meet those guidelines given by your instructor then there may be a chance of your paper getting unacceptable by your guide.
  2. Choosing a topic from your personal interest can help you be more motivated and focused on the topic, so that the work of writing paper will be more enjoyable.
  3. Your topic should be in a scale. Neither more nor less. The topic you choose should have decent amount of information. If you could gather only little amount of information then you should expand your topic, or you find too much information then you should reduce the area of your topic. Do a preliminary search on the sources you collect data from.
  4. Select a topic which would be more interesting and stand out from others topic which your mentor not heard of. Be original in your own way. Your mentor could have come across many research papers from their students which may of controversial issues, topics from the news at that time or from which information’s can be collected easily. Your topic should be different from that, so you can stand out from others.
  5. In case, if you could not come up with a topic after following all these steps also then seek help from your instructor.

Finally when you come up with a topic then frame it in a question format. Example, if you are eager to learn about the reasons of obesity of American people that are common among them then you can frame a question like “Why do people of America are more affected by obesity?”

Step 2: Do some preliminary search for information

Before you tend to start your research, carry out preliminary search regarding your topic to get enough information you wanted. Do search for keywords related to your project from the library’s collection of references for example dictionaries and encyclopedias also in some other sources like periodical databases, search engines from internet and the catalog of books. You may require it to think out of the box from your topic.

Step 3: Find materials

When you start locating your materials based on your topic, you can find number of platforms from which you can look for your required information. If you do searching in books then go for subject search or keyword search on the site One Search  which can help you in giving more data. Write or print down the information regarding citation sources.

Use the electronic periodical databases from library to gather data from newspaper articles and magazine. Choose some formats and the databases that best defines your specific topic. Ask help, if you could not find something that you most wanted from the librarian.

Make use of subject directories and search engines such as yahoo or Google to find notes from Internet. From the NHCC Library web site the resources from internet section will help you find some important subject links.

Step 4: Evaluate your resources

Doing evaluation of the information source from where you collected data is very much important, especially when you gather it from internet sources, because many internet resources are marked as very low reliability. Make use of CARS, checklist website to know about the quality of information that has been collected. You should deliver truthful, reliable and credible information to your instructor, which they expect from you.

Step 5: Make some notes

Note down all the sites and resources you have visited for collecting information that helps you in writing your paper. The title, publisher, author, URL, and other extra information will help you later when bibliography is created.

Step 6: Write your paper

Organize all the information that has been collected before starting to write the paper that will save time. Make a rough sketch of your paper, in a way how your final paper should look like, that helps you organize your data. You can look after your rough sketch at any moment to bring your result.

Step 7: Cite your sources properly

Plagiarism should be avoided. Cite your sources properly, because carelessness in it may lead to plagiarism. Give credits to the sources whenever needed.

Citing the sources which you used in your research helps in two ways:

  • It allows the readers of the research paper to identify the sources from which you got the reference.
  • It gives the genuine credits required for the materials you used and to the authors from whom you collected information.

The two popular citation formats are APA and MLA styles.

Step 8: Proofread the Created Paper

Proofreading the paper you have written is the last step, which involves:

  • Checking any errors in punctuation, spelling and grammar.
  • The message that you wanted to get delivered to the reader has to be delivered properly.
  • Cite all the sources you used to gather data

Be more approachable and adapt to challenges and changes you face through the process because research is a flexible and repetitive process. To make your research more strong get help from your instructor and be more connected with your peers.

Additional research tips:

  • Don’t forget the process of printing sources – Most of the time, print materials are easy accessible than the written one.
  • Don’t work from specific to general – Collect miscellaneous details first and then move on to sources that are specific.
  • If you feel discomfort about collecting information regarding query from the library, ask it from the librarian.
  • If you have doubts regarding the task, don’t hesitate to ask your instructor.

By following these instructions and tips you can improve you in your research field. Research is a continuous and dynamic process, and each project you choose to do become your milestone.