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Tips on How to Start a Research Project

If need to prepare a research project, read the article to find out about useful tips on how to start a research project for students.

What is Research Project and How to Start a Research Project?

During your studies, you will often have to deal with various research projects, and possibly even during your work. If you find it difficult to understand how to start a research project and come up with a good idea in which direction to work, read this short guide and you will be able to write a good professional research project.

Development and Substantiation

Before starting a research project, brainstorm several ideas. No matter how many requirements your project has, the most important thing in any research project is to allow researchers to present their own ideas. At this point, a pen and paper are your best friends. Without thinking about the structure or format, start recording ideas – all that you are interested in within the guidelines of the project.

Do not hesitate what ideas you should write down and what ideas you should leave behind. In the end, you might have some weird ideas on paper – silly or meaningless phrases that you have randomly written down. This is normal. A few minutes later you will start have better ideas that you can use as the basis of the project.

Use the tools that you have. If the brainstorming of ideas does not provide anything interesting, and you were given vague and useless tips, it is better to again review your textbook or lecture notes. Look through the notes to find something interesting. You can even choose an interesting term or name and use it as the basis of your ideas.

Some professors might even give you examples of successful works written previously, if you ask. Do not be afraid to use the idea that has been use before. Maybe you will be able to find something new and interesting on the subject that other authors could not.

Study the issue from different perspectives. If the guidelines give at least some direction, take it as a basis, and try to come to the subject of study from different sides. Write down everything that comes to your mind, even if it does not seem very relevant. Start with the obvious conclusions, and then go on to other issues that are indirectly related to the main thrust of guidelines. Continue adding points until you understand that nothing else can be thought of.

For example, if you are studying the topic of urban poverty, you can look at this problem through the prism of ethnic and sex differences, but you can also take into account the level of wages in different companies, the laws on minimum wages, health care costs, reduction of the number of vacancies for unskilled workers in the city, and so on. You can compare and contrast the poverty levels in urban and suburban or rural areas, and examine the that are different –diet, level of sports, or air pollution.

Summarize specific topics. You can combine different options and create specific questions, which will give direction to your study. For example, from the previous sample, you can pay attention to the eating habits of low-income segments of the population in the villages and in the city, compare these levels with those that are common for wealthy people, and make conclusions about what effects the diet the most – welfare or the environment, and to what degree.

In the same way think on questions that you want to get answers for. A good research project should have a comprehensive collection of information, which can be used to give an answer to a specific question. By browsing and connecting a variety of topics, you can come to the issue that seems doesn’t have a clear answer. These questions are the topics of your research.

Study all the information you have access to. When you have enough interesting ideas, choose the one that you like the most, and do a little preliminary research about it. If you can find the information that you can use, leave the chosen topic. If your search does not yield results, then you will either have to become a pioneer, or change the subject. Do not be afraid to accept the challenge, if there is little information on your topic.

Do not limit the scope of your searches with online libraries and databases available online. Pay attention to other sources: primary sources, government agencies, educational television programs. If you want to know about the differences in animal populations on public lands and Indian reservations, call the reservation and try to talk to their department of fish and wildlife ponds.

Clearly define your project. After you narrowed the scope of the search and decided on the question your research project should give answer to, it’s time to be a little more formal. Write down a research question and briefly mark the steps you plan to take in order to answer this question. Then at the bottom of the page write all the possible answers to topical questions. There are three potential answers: there is one way; there is another option; there is no fundamental difference between the first two options.

If your plan is reduced to the study of the theme, and you can’t say anything more specific, write down the types of sources you are going to use: books (library), magazines (which exactly?), interviews, etc. A preliminary study should help you understand how to start a research project.

Disclosure of Ideas in the Course of the Study

If you’re wondering how to start a research project, start with the basics. This means that you simply start your project. If you are trying to write a detailed plan, you are wasting time, because actual results may differ materially from the expectations you set in a plan. Instead, start with your school or city library. Use your time to look through various useful sources of literature and extract some valuable information from it. Always keep a notebook or a computer next to you to literally rewrite or copy any information, which might be useful.

References to three or more sources on the same issue usually look more convincingly, than frequent citation of the source. The number of sources, at least, should not give in to their quality. Be sure to check quotes, concluding remarks and bibliography, as they might continue some additional sources.

It is better to write down the names of sources and other details relating to the issue (e.g., context) directly next to the information. This way you will save a lot of time and nerves in the future.

Go beyond the requirements. After you collect all relevant information from local sources, use all available tools to gather more information on the internet, using various databases, like JSTOR. If you study in college, maybe, you have access to many of such resources through your university. If not, you might need to arrange yourself a paid subscription. At the same time it is necessary to conduct a general study on online websites with verified information, such as websites of government agencies or non-profit organizations.

Manuals on how to start a research project indicate that when searching for information, write down questions in different ways to obtain the desired results of the databases. If the phrase or a set of words you use does not give the desired results, try to rephrase or replace words with synonyms. Academic online databases are usually worse in responding to the enquiries, so use indirectly related terms, and a creative approach to get the desired result.

If you want to know how to start a research project, collect unusual sources. At this point, you should have written (and systematized) a lot of information, not all of which you are necessarily going to use in your project. It’s time to be creative and to breathe life into your project. Visit museums and historical communities, where you may find information that can be found nowhere else.

Perhaps it makes sense to talk to ordinary people and find out their opinion. It is not always appropriate in scientific projects, but in some cases, this step will help you discover new and interesting perspective on your project.

Cultural exhibits should also be taken into consideration; they contain useful information about relations, hopes, and/or beliefs of the people in a certain period of time with respect to art, music or literature.

Check all the sources and start a project. At this point you should have a lot of material at hand, which is carefully cataloged, or at least a bit sorted. Once again, take a closer look at all this information in the light of the issue of your research and try to find answers. Read between the lines, use the context, age of resources and other additional information. You will understand which option is the correct answer and you will find enough arguments to support it. Once again, go through the sources you have found and set aside those that are not directly related to the project. Now all you need to do is to format the information you have collected, give your own interpretation of the issue and prepare the presentation.

Advice on How to Start a Research Project

  • Start your project in advance.
    If you want to know how to write a research project of a high quality, remember that the basis of a good research work is a collection of information that requires time and patience, even if you do not conduct your own research. Give it as much time as you can, at least until you’ve finished gathering all the information.
  • If in doubt, it is better to write more than less.
    It will be much easier to reduce the volume and remove unnecessary information, rather than artificially add to the amount of project by flimsy facts and anecdotes.

If need to prepare a research project, read the article to find out about useful tips on how to start a research project for students.

What is Research Project and How to Start a Research Project?

During your studies, you will often have to deal with various research projects, and possibly even during your work.

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100000043
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CREATED ON
June 18, 2016
COMPLETED ON
June 19, 2016
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$49
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