Research. The word may send chills down your spine as you try to comprehend the amount of digging you need to do to get the best information for your assignment, whether it be online or in the library. It’s like digging for a dinosaur skeleton and collecting the bones; once you have the bones, you start putting the whole structure together and voila, everything fits where it should and supports itself. Here at the library, we hear the word research and get into a right state. That is to say…WE LOVE RESEARCH. And most importantly, we love to help YOU with your research.

Here are the absolute fundamentals of any good research strategy (with gifs):

  1. Understand/define your topic:


Identify key words for your assignment, have a brainstorm session, or draw a mindmap!


2. Locate and evaluate sources:


What kind of sources do you need? Primary or secondary? Do you need journal articles, images, videos? Are they from a reputable website/book? How do these sources support your argument?


3. Select and organise your sources


Always consider the following when selecting sources:

Currency (when was it written?)
Relevance (is it relevant to my argument?)
Authority (is it written by a reputable author?)
Accuracy (how accurate is the information? Cross-reference with other reputable sources to find out)

While you’re evaluating and collecting your sources, keep a bibliography using RefMe – we’ve all gotten to the end of an assignment and realised, ‘I FORGOT THE BIBLIOGRAPHY!’  Do it as you go, and future you will thank you for it.


4. Present your sources to support your argument


Precaution must be taken to avoid plagiarism so we maintain our academic integrity. Click here to remind yourself on how to cite sources so you don’t accidentally plagiarize! Use quotation marks, stick to one citation style, and always be sure to ask yourself the question ‘how does this source support my argument?’


5. Evaluate your work

Get your assignment done at least a few days before the due date – give it a day or two where you forget about it, and then revisit it with fresh eyes. This is a great way to tighten up your argument and remove any unnecessary waffling (filler words and sentences that don’t add anything to your argument).


Visit the libguides research page for more information on how to be the best researcher you can be!

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