10Research Strategies  

   
Helping a student succeed in a research project can be satisfying to both tutor and student. Most handbooks have good material on the research process.

There are some key strategies to keep in mind, however--steps that not all textbooks or professors emphasize--that can smooth the process and positively affect the outcome.  

 
A research proposal whether it is formally written or not is a critical component.

A working outline guides the studentís investigation. This outline changes daily, hourly, as the student uncovers information that he may not previously have considered.

One time-honored system for research is using note cards and bibliography cards. Cards work well because they are more durable than paper and very easy to rearrange.

Some researchers like to photocopy source material, although there are some inherent dangers in the method.

Initially in the research process material is usually organized by which source it comes from. However, when the student is ready to write the first draft, the cards should be rearranged so that all material on a particular topic is together. This is why the headings on the cards (which are also the headings on the outline) are so critically important. Once cards are arranged by topic, itís easy to sequence the information, make a final outline, and begin to draft the text of the paper.

It is also useful to keep a research journal during the research process to record thoughts and keep a record of activities.

Helping students understand the importance of categorizing information as they gather it is the best gift you as a tutor can give them. The working outline, used as a roadmap for the research journey, enables students to select or reject information as they proceed with their research/reading.

 

 

 
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© 1999, 2000, 2002 Virginia Bower (Mars Hill College), Charlene Kiser (Milligan College), Kim McMurtry (Montreat College), Ellen Millsaps (Carson-Newman College), Katherine Vande Brake (King College). All rights reserved. This manual was made possible by a Culpeper grant from the Appalachian College Association; click here for information. If you encounter difficulties with these web pages, please notify kmcmurtry@montreat.edu.