Doing the Research

There are a lot of obstacles students encounter as they do their research. These videos, put together by the librarians at NC State, help to demystify some of the process.

How do you pick a topic? And what happens if, once you’ve picked it, you can’t find any scholarly research on it! Are you doomed? No. This is normal. Every single researcher, from the most junior to the most senior, encounters this.

But what if I’m trying to do the research and I’m not finding anything?

One problem might be that you’re looking for the “perfect article”:

Another problem might be that you’re not properly narrowing your search–finding over a million articles on a topic could be as daunting as finding none! Learn to use proper phrase searching in this video:

Above all, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can think up a good topic on your own. Good topics come as a result of research. This means that first you have to do research in a very blind way–you don’t know what you’re looking for. When you find some angle that interests you, your research changes and narrows. This second phase of research is what will provide evidence for your paper.

Good luck.

8 thoughts on “Doing the Research

  1. Alexandre Scuderi
    first Draft
    1.Write my thesis statement before .October 2-3
    2.Come and see you during office hours if it is ok, because it is a crucial step in essay writing.
    3. Writing a plan.October 10
    4. Writing the introduction. October 13
    5. Writing the paper from October 13 to November 2nd

    Final Draft
    1.Reading the comments you wrote.
    2.Correcting the mistake from the first draft.

    My obstacles for writing this essay is that a have a very busy schedule having many other classes, work and sports. I also get distracted easily and my cell phone is my main distraction. I mostly use it text, go on Facebook and Instagram.

    Therefore, I will turn off my cell phone when working on my paper. Also, I’ve used this method in the past and it was really successful because I also work on a different room from the location of my cell phone. Also, I will have a very strict schedule to manage my time well and to avoid procrastinating on useless things.

  2. Work plan
    First draft:
    – Read and go through sources to find anything pertinent and relevant to quote. Take note of them and highlight them.
    – Formulate thesis based on research from sources
    – Brainstorm and list ideas for arguments or examples to support my thesis and provide the source of the argument or example.
    – Create an outline: select stronger arguments and examples and organize the order in which they will be elaborated in the essay
    – Write the abstract
    – Write the introduction
    – Write the body paragraphs and then the conclusion
    – Proof-read the essay to make sure everything is clearly expressed with no grammar errors or mistakes in citation
    – Have the essay revised by classmates and teacher and make appropriate changes, according to their comments
    – Compare my draft to those of my classmates to see if I think I should change anything
    Final draft:
    – Take note of further corrections needed and different methods I could use to improve the essay for my final draft
    – Apply the corrections and edit my essay

    There are many obstacles I encounter every time I have a long essay to write. One of these is obstacles is that I have work after school, which leaves me with limited time for homework or any other activity. I already asked my boss for less shifts but he said this was not possible for the time being. So, the only way I can overcome this is by managing my time more efficiently, and perhaps try to get a head start on working on my first or final draft. I will also work on procrastinating less. Another important obstacle I have encountered when writing in the past is sleepiness. I tend to fall asleep while reading or writing. Luckily, I have already discovered caffeinated chocolates which, so far, seem to work quite well to alleviate my somnolence. I could also refrain from doing homework on my bed so that I am less likely to get sleepy. I also get distracted very easily when writing a paper. To avoid this, I can try to be alone as much as possible when writing so that no one around can bother me.

  3. 1. Write down thesis for my paper.
    2. Start with finding what my three body paragraphs will be talking about so I can start gathering information.
    3. Find sources that will help bring my argument together and back up my points.
    4. Start writing my first draft after finding sources for each paragraph and have a clear thesis statement.
    5. Complete my first draft and print it.
    6. Reread the draft and correct mistakes found.
    7. Once I correct the mistakes ask people to review my essay to see if changes are needed if I missed something or need to add something.
    8. Correct what others caught that I didn’t and then reprint it.
    9. Reread it after all the corrections.

    My own personal obstacle in completing these steps is my procrastination. I tend to keep delaying when I start an assignment and then when I do start I get distracted. When writing my essay, I become distracted because I tend to open up social media sites and YouTube. Due to this, I tend to run out of time to finalize my work. I end up skipping important steps like getting someone else to review it. I usually think I have more time than I actually do for the assignment. What I decided to do to try and stop procrastinating is to make time each day. For example I will give myself half an hour a day to work on my final essay no matter what so that I’m always working on it and not keeping the whole paper to finalize in one day. I believe if I stay on a schedule for my final paper I will be able to go through all my steps to make it successful.

  4. During the period of the Great Depression, the United States of American, still a relatively young country went in full out panic mode trying to correct the situation. The gold standard which was the norm at the time, had governments do absolutely nothing to boost its economy because they thought it would fix itself overtime. When the economy did not rebound as it used to, many countries went to radical changes to try to answer the issues of the Great Depression. Germany and Italy turned to Fascism; they took total control of the economy and stimulated it as so cut unemployment. One action, almost never seen before on the gold standard was deficit spending, which today is used much more often.
    The United States however did not get a fascist revolution of any type, it stayed truly democratic, exactly like when it was founded following the American Revolution. By 1932-33, when nothing seemed to be improving, they stepped away from conservatism and elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His “New Deal” included stimulus packages that would finally help America get out of the depression.
    My paper will focus on this “New Deal”, which is still being debated today. Did it really get America out of the depression? Was enough done? I will look at what has been done how he nationalized some businesses and did not in others. I will focus on whether his “New Deal” was indeed working. Was the New Deal enough for the economy to recover or was it saved by World War II?
    This will be hard to answer because there is no definite answer. I will look at the work of scholars to see what they think about the New Deal. We know more about the New Deal way following the war; it is easy to see how it impacted the economy afterwards. However, it is hard to know, if it was indeed enough during the depression. Deficit spending which was being used during the depression might not have been enough, as FDR and his government were too afraid to spend too much. During the war, the government spent much more than it’s GDP, which allowed the economy to run full out and get people working. Which brings us back to the question of whether or not the New Deal was enough to get the US out of the depression?

  5. Work plan
    October 3-4: Binge watch show Narcos for ‘research purposes’
    October 5-12: Read through current sources, highlight and copy any relevant quotes, additional sources or statistics which could prove useful
    October 13-19: Arrange gleaned information from sources into chronological or simply logical order, formulate thesis around findings
    October 20-24: Create outline and abstract, begin first draft introduction
    October 25-November 2: Write body paragraphs and conclusion
    November 3-5: Edit and format first draft before submission
    November 6-9: Apply relevant editing proposed by classmate revision
    November 10-16: Perform ‘on revision’ assignment
    November 18-22: Compare and contrast my first draft with On revision second draft, apply changes, if any, in order to have essay up to same standard of quality
    November 23-December 6: ‘Peer-review’ by friends and final editing for second draft.

    My single greatest obstacle to completing all these steps is my unfortunate habit of procrastinating. After all, I am writing this work plan at around midnight the day before it is due. Rather than sticking to my usual routine of putting the work off to the last day, guzzling down three pots of coffee and typing out a mediocre paper in the span of a few hours, I plan on completing the work in smaller steps over the next few weeks. I know I lack the motivation to do any work at home so instead of watching YouTube videos on my breaks I can spend these precious few hours in the library, conducting extra research or finding information in my obtained sources. I also generally dislike having my work edited, but I have had other essays reviewed by my classmates in my other classes this semester and their advice proved useful so I will try to keep an open mind and have my work reviewed by a few individuals.

  6. The work plan
    1. Collect more primary and secondary articles by October 5th
    2. Sorting the data(factual, qualitative, quantitative) by October 8th
    3. Write a text plan/outline by October 10th
    4. Write abstract in the same week-end
    5. Write the essay between October 14 and 21st
    6. Get it reviewed within the following week (I’m more comfortable to write in French hence sometimes I write things that seems to make sense but does not always.)
    7. Revise the first draft and modify the text according the comments left.
    8. Write the reflection on the changes between the 2 copies before November 4th
    9. Improve modified text before November 31st
    10. Get final feedback so if there’s something minor to correct
    11. Give in essay
    During the dissertation of this essay my main obstacle is going to be respecting my schedule. I am really great at planning but when it comes to execute the match plan it is a bit of an impossible mission. The main problem is not procrastination, but I tend to spend so much time on the first project in my agenda and if I don’t have time to finish everything else I just push it to the next day. One of the most productive ways to work is with timers and alarms to notice what’s coming along the week. It helped me in the past, even though this is not my favourite method as I feel stressed because I don’t give myself enough time for each subject.

  7. Here are the steps I try to follow while writing this paper. Between now and the final draft, I believe that doing an outline is one of the most helpful steps to completing a project. Once I have an outline, it will be easy for me to finish the paper on time and well. In order to complete this project, I need to find time every day to write at least a paragraph per day or start a new paragraph every two days till the first draft. After that, retouch it till I am satisfied with the results. I might not be able to complete all of these steps properly since I am a procrastinator. When it comes to doing assignments, I tend to write them up the day before even if it was assigned to me at least a month before. If I’m writing an essay, I try to get it done over a period of 2 to 4 days. This is a habit I am trying the break. Also, while writing my assignments, I get distracted easily. Since I am on my laptop, my browser is open to YouTube, Netflix, Facebook and other social networks. It’s much easier to watch videos for many hours than to focus on finishing an assignment for a few hours. My cellphone is another problem, I always have it with me. When I take a break for a few seconds, it ends up being half an hour. It is always good to take a break to refresh but not when you need to give in an assignment soon. Because of this problem, my papers turn out to be mediocre when I know I can do better. Like I said, it’s a habit I’m trying to break, the solution to that problem is time management. If I create a schedule for myself to do my assignments in a timely manner, I will have an excellent paper and a better grade, when I success in doing so. Also if I’m having trouble with this project, I will take advantage of the office hours.

  8. The steps I will need to take throughout this project will be finding appropriate sources that will aid me in developing an informative paper that will prove my thesis. After reading the requirements for the first and second draft I noticed that I will need to focus on making my point and argument clear. I also need to decide and keep a certain writing style consistent throughout my paper and that is sometimes an aspect that I struggle with. I believe that if I make a structured plan stating how my paper will develop, it will result in a well-structured paper that keeps up with one consistent writing style. Moreover, an obstacle that I have when writing research papers is that I focus too much on getting a lot of information and trying to perfect every little detail. This results in having a lot of information that does not connect. I see this as both negative and positive, because on one hand I have difficulty narrowing down what I want to concentrate on but I also have a lot of information that will allow me to produce an effective, well informed, research project. I believe that if I concentrate and think about my thesis statement while finding additional sources and reading the sources I currently have, then I will be able to produce a paper that does not have overlapping ideas. This will allow my reader to understand clearly, the point I am trying to make. Overall, I feel that if I focus on my obstacles from the beginning of my project and edit my paper with them in mind, it will help me have a more structured and consistent paper.

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