As the world slowly begins to open back up and you find your research opportunities and possibilities increasing, you may be looking to embark on a new research project! If you find yourself itching to begin a new journey, here are some tips to keep in mind when starting this new project!
Picking a Research topic
To start you need to determine what it is you are going to be researching. Due to the fact that there are endless topics that you can select, it is best to start off with a little brainstorming. In this brainstorm, try to break your topic possibilities into categories as a way to organize your thoughts. Take into consideration past research projects you have been a part of to distinguish topics that are of interest to you, thus enabling you to understand the research material better.
Once you have narrowed down your top 3 possible research topics, conduct more in-depth research on each topic to learn more about each topic and estimate the amount of time that would need to be dedicated to each topic. Compare the estimated timelines of each project with the estimated time you will have available to dedicate to the research. Take into consideration all of the aspects of the topic including time, content, and resources available, and select the best topic for you.
Draft your thesis and make a list of keywords
Once you have your topic narrowed down, create a list of keywords associated with your topic. This list can be formatted in any way that is beneficial to you. Make notes on these keywords and use this to help you become better acquainted with your topic and the different aspects of it. Then use this to help you draft a thesis statement for your topic. Since this is just the beginning of your project, the thesis doesn’t need to be perfect right off the bat. This is just a draft so that you have a specific research question or theory that you are investigating. It is a way to give your process some more structure and can be altered as you progress.
Map out your research plan and begin!
Finally, it’s time to start planning your process. In the brainstorming of the topic, you estimated the time that this research would take to complete. Take out your calendar, and begin to plan the phases of your research. At first, this can be broad. Look at certain weeks or months and dedicate them to different aspects of the research and set mini-deadlines for yourself. Allow flexibility within this schedule in case certain parts of the project take longer than others. Use the keywords and thesis formulated in the second tip, to help guide you in this step.
If your research is going to require any traveling, use this step to begin planning these trips. Look at how you are going to get to these destinations (car, train, plane, etc) and if you are going to require lodging. Look at places to stay in the areas and potential costs from the travel. Research can be stressful. By planning out your process from the start, you can help to alleviate some of this stress. Remember to keep your topic focused, but allow yourself space to diverge from your original plan as you learn more along the way. Stay organized, manage your stress and research potential tools that can help you do so. Once you feel confident in your topic and process, you are ready to dive deep into the research!
If you are looking for a simple way to gather and store your data along the way, check out the Conseris app! You can learn more about it here.