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5 ways to improve your research skills

When it comes to writing an essay, many students find the research process quite challenging. Admittedly, the web is full of content which can be useful but also irrelevant. Therefore, it is fundamental to select the proper resources in order to write a high-standard academic paper.

By following these tips, you will be able to improve and enhance your research skills, making the process easier, more accurate and effective.

  • Know your sources

As outlined above, you can find all the information you want by browsing the internet. However, not everything on the internet is accurate, or from a reliable source. Therefore, we suggest you try and find the same information from multiple websites and when possible, from its original source.
Also, if you are using Wikipedia as your main source of information, bear in mind that data on this website can be edited by everyone. Try to look for Wikipedia articles which cite the sources of information; if you can’t find any acknowledgement, we suggest you find the information from somewhere else.
On the Internet, you can find reliable resources by browsing the Government or your university website. As well as this, there are also various private intelligence and information databases such as LexisNexis and Westlaw, which are fundamental for legal students. Remember: always look for reliable content and keep in mind that sometimes newspapers may interpret and share a story using their own point of view.

  • Use your web browser properly

Over the years, web browsers have evolved drastically and currently are able to manage and keep open several pages at the same time in one window. This allows you to follow links while keeping the original open as well as to skip back and forth between pages to compare information. Also, did you know that modern browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome have extensions available which can help you with the research process? These are capable of counting words and finding citations.

  • Organise your bookmarks

This tip may seem useless to you, but many students do not spend enough time organising and managing their bookmarks, wasting their time. So, why don’t you create folders for specific topics and store specific URLs within them? Also, you can create subfolders and tags to easily find the information you need.

  • Learn advanced search methodologies

To run an effective internet research, you should learn advanced search techniques based on keywords and most used search terms. The most common advanced search techniques are:

      • Search on social media
      • Search for a price
      • Search for hashtags
      • Search for exact match
      • Combine searches
  • Follow your intuition

Most of the time, the oldest method of following your intuition can still be the best. Furthermore, every page you open will provide more information which will help you to get closer to your aim. Also, the more you use the Web, the more information you will find. So what’ are you waiting for? Start browsing now!



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