Take the time to think critically about your topic. Consider carefully as you need to live with it for a long time. It’s okay to explore and fumble around a bit. I call this the “beginning cycle” because these steps are not usually linear. As you define your topic, you will review background information that will cause you to accept or reject ideas. These changes will alter the questions you develop. Your keywords list will also change as your questions change. You should finish all this work, however, before creating an essential question.
Start with the basics. It is helpful to have some questions/topics to look up when you start your research. These questions will develop as you narrow your topic and decide the focus of your research.
Develop a timeline.
Timeline: It is important to budget your time. Those who wait until the last minute are more likely to perform poorly, plagiarize, and skip steps that will lead to a lower grade. Your next research project will be that much harder to do. Using the date due as the end date, work backwards, and estimate time for the following:
Students often begin research by skimming through websites. The problem is they sometimes forget to keep a record of where they have been and what they found. Students also begin taking notes by typing in a computer, or writing on random sheets of paper, not thinking about how they're going to organize these notes later. For a major research project, use a method. Some students like note cards or notebook paper. If you type better than you write, by all means, use a computer.
Whatever you do, make sure that the system is portable. Don't type all your notes on your home computer or the computers at school. Take your notes with you so you can work on them at school and at home. The following are note-taking methods.