A Final Note
In the workplace, research is a messy process. It’s okay if you encounter some stumbling blocks, if your research doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, or if you initially struggle to find sources. To get a sense of just how frustrating research can be, check out this episode of the podcast Reply All, which follows a journalist trying to figure out why a woman in New Jersey is getting strange calls to her office phone number. It’s a great example of formulating a specific research question, then using multiple methods to answer it.
- In the workplace, the amount of research you’ll do depends on the amount of time you have and the importance of the topic.
- Having a clear research question will save you time. You may have to do some background research before you find your actual research question.
- Being aware of the role the source will play in your argument will help you find appropriate sources. You can create a source plan to organize your research.
- To do an effective online search, identify the main concepts in your research. Stick to nouns. Then, find related search terms. Use quotation marks around phrases to make your search more specific. You can also use wildcard symbols and phrases like ‘and’ and ‘not’ to refine your search.
- If you can’t find sources on your topic, try the divide and conquer approach.
- To determine how useful a source is, you can evaluate it according to the CRAAP test. When evaluating online sources, it’s especially important to determine whether the person has the authority to speak on the topic and whether the ideas have been supported with evidence.
- Research is messy. It’s okay if you end up changing your mind based on new research.