4 Tips for Doing Academic Research Online

by Online Education Specialist · 1 comment

As a future or current online schooling student, there will come a point while pursuing your degree in which you’ll have to do some research, whether it’s for a short paper, a longer research paper, or a full-fledged thesis. If your assignment is more substantial, you’ll certainly want to consider hitting the local library to look at some in-depth sources. At the same time, most research these days can be undertaken completely online. Here are a few tips.academic research online

1. Use Wikipedia only as a starting point.
Wikipedia, contrary to what many academics say, is a great resource for doing research online. The only problem occurs when students cite the articles themselves. If using Wikipedia to conduct research, see it only as a starting point. Scroll down to the end of the article to find links to more comprehensive research sources.

2. Search Google Books for relevant information.
Google Books is a wonderful resource when it comes to conducting online research. For one, it gives free access to preview sections of millions of books. Since it won’t be necessary to read entire books to use for your research project, finding relevant sections by searching a book with a preview can be just the thing you need. And you don’t even have to go to a library to use books for your research!

3. Doing your online research at a library instead of home can have advantages.
At the same time, going to a library to conduct your research, even if you do it all online, can augment the resources at your disposal. For one, you’ll have access to books and periodicals if happen to need them. Also, libraries often make deals with online academic journals, such that you get free access to articles that you would have to probably pay for if you were doing your online research at home.

4. Always make sure to cite anything you find and use properly.
Improper citation is the perhaps the leading cause of accusations of plagiarism, which can lead you to fail your class or be expelled from your degree program completely. As such, you’ll want to be very careful about citing anything you use for your research. Make sure you ask your instructor which is her preferred writing standard (common ones are MLA, APA, and Chicago). Make sure to look up the citation and bibliography guidelines for whatever manual you are supposed to use. Also, even if you aren’t quoting directly from any given source, be sure to add a citation even for summarizing ideas of others. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: if it wasn’t your idea, you need a citation.

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

George @ Scholarships For Women June 8, 2011 at 4:44 am

I always have problems studying in the library. it is too quiet.


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