7 Helpful Tips to Improve Your Research Skills

Trying to improve your research skills? Want to do your very best when conducting research?

Whether you’re a professional or a student, learning to conduct accurate research in an efficient way is an important skill to have. Performing research isn’t easy, and if you aren’t prepared for the task at hand, you may find that it’s more difficult than it has to be.

Fortunately, we’re here to help. Below we’ll 7 helpful tips you can use to improve your research skills.

1. Look For Reliable Sources

One of the keys to improving your research skills is to understand how to identify good sources. There’s no easy way to do this, so you’ll have to use your best judgment. You’ll need to look at a particular source and carefully consider its characteristics.

One of the best things to do is to determine who the author is and what their background is. You should check their credentials and find out if they have been professionally recognized in their field. Additionally, you should also consider the details of the publication itself to determine whether it’s a reliable source.

With a little bit of practice and know-how, you’ll be able to ensure that sources you’re using are up to snuff and will be adequate for your needs.

2. Use More Than One Source For Information

One of the best ways to confirm the reliability of sources during your research is to always use more than one. Checking more than one source can help you eliminate errors and can help you ensure that the information you’re getting is as accurate as possible.

Once you find a source for a fact or piece of information, get additional verification by checking whether other reliable sources agree with it or not. If multiple trusted sources agree on a piece of information, it’s more likely that you can trust it.

3. Find New Sources in Bibliographies

One of the best ways to find great sources is to look at the bibliographies of any sources you’re already using.

Great sources can lead to even better sources, sobe sure to check out the bibliographies of any resources you’re currently using. By doing so, you may find some great new sources to use during your research. If you’re using a great source already, you can expect that the sources that are being used by your source will be useful as well.

Similarly, this is also the case when it comes to Wikipedia articles. Although researchers frown upon using Wikipedia itself as a source, there are plenty of professional sources at the bottom of a page that can be incredibly helpful during your research.

4. Start With a General Overview

When doing your research, it’s a good idea to begin with a general overview of a subject before learning about it in more detail. Particularly if it’s a subject that you’re not familiar with already, checking out some general resources first can be a great idea. 

Doing this will allow you to get your feet wet and learn the very basics of a subject without overwhelming yourself too soon. After you get the general idea of a subject, you can then move on to the finer points.

5. Make Use of the Library

When trying to conduct great research, make sure that you’re using your local library. Consider going to a library in your area and finding out what resources they have available for people who are in the research process.

Whether you’re a student or professional, libraries can provide you with access to certain databases that you wouldn’t be able to access on your own and will have a lot of resources available for you to use. Be sure you make use of these during your research.

6. Stay As Organized As Possible

When performing research of any kind, it’s critical that you stay organized. Have a system for keeping your findings all together so that you can look back on them and review your research as needed.

The specifics of how you stay organized isn’t important, but you need to have a way to keep the information you discover together. Have a plan for keeping track of where you found any important information or data that you discover.

Using a combination of web browser bookmarks, online or offline notes, and keeping a list of citations can be incredibly helpful as your research continues. Additionally, don’t be afraid to use powerful tools and software to help you stay more organized. If you’re performing science research, then you may want to make use of OnRamp Bioinformatics.

By staying organized as you go, you’ll save a lot of time and effort once it’s time to dig deeper into your research or when trying to remember where you found a particular fact or piece of information.

7. Keep an Open Mind

One of the most important things to remember when conducting research is that you need to remain open-minded at all times. You should always start your research with a clear mind. Avoid looking for information that supports ideas that you’ve already formed ahead of time. Be open to having your mind changed over the course of your research and always look at subjects from multiple sides and angles during the process.

By staying open while performing research and looking for information, you’ll have a better chance of staying unbiased. As a result, you may discover answers and information that you didn’t expect and will ensure that your research is as accurate as possible when all is said and done. 

Using These Tips to Improve Your Research Skills

If you want to improve your research skills and work efficiently, you need to take the above tips and strategies into careful consideration. By taking the right approach with your research, you’ll have the best chance of meeting your goals and learning as much as possible in the amount of time that you have.

Need more research and data collection tips? Read through our blog now to find more advice that can help.