Getting Started with Your Research
I recommend that you start by asking yourself concrete questions of the sort that will generate a plan of action. Each of them can be expanded and repeated as necessary.
- What do I want to know? (Make yourself an initial list of questions)
- Do I need background information on people, places, concepts, events?
- Who (what field of study, group of researchers, organizations, etc.) is likely to have published relevant information or ideas?
- Where and in what form are the results of their research likely to be published?
- What questions should I ask in trying to identify that research?
- How should I interpret or evaluate the information I find?
- Are there primary (un-interpreted) sources I should consult? Who would have created them?
- What new questions are raised by these sources, both primary and secondary?
Make your life easier: Keep track of your research progress by recording the following:
- Bibliographic information on the works you consult;
- Any developments or refinements in your topic;
- Names of key persons, authorities, cases, places, or events;
- New terms you discover in titles, abstracts, or articles that might be helpful in searching for other sources.
- Saving search results to an electronic file, for easier searching and sorting later.