Research Methods

How to Write a Thesis Statement

How to Write a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a sentence declaring what your essay is going to contain. It proposes the position you are going to argue for in your paper. It presents the topic of your writing and also comments on your position on the issue. Your thesis statement provides a roadmap for you as you write your paper, and it also helps your reader follow your argument as it develops. It lets your reader have an easier time understanding your argument.

Discover Your Learning Styles

Discover Your Learning Styles

One of the best ways to improve your research methods or academic performance is to discover your learning styles. Some people favor a particular way of learning, while others find that a blend of techniques work best for them. I've also found that learning styles can change over time; what may have worked with you while you were in school, for example, may shift when you are learning in a professional environment. 

How to Avoid Plagiarism

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the practice of falsely representing as one’s own any language, thoughts, ideas, designs, or expression in a paper, exam, or other work. In short, it means taking someone’s else’s words, ideas, or work and passing them off as yours. There are severe consequences for plagiarism in your academic, work, and personal lives.

How to Take Notes as You Read

How to Take Notes as You Read

When you are researching for a paper, you should take notes, not only to retain the information you are seeking but also to guide the next steps in your research strategy. I advise my students to take notes, either by putting pen to paper or by using programs like Mendeley which allow you to mark and save articles. Reading for research is never passive; it should be an active exchange in which you respond to and interrogate the text.

Interrogating Documents with 16 Questions

Interrogating Documents with 16 Questions

When I teach my Research Methods students, I often ask them to interrogate their primary sources. When you’re working with documents—whether manuscripts from the 17th century or blog posts that were published minutes ago—you need to analyze them like detectives. Nothing should be taken at face value. Often, this means that a document may need to be read several times to unravel its meaning.