Research, especially with Wide topics such as World War 2, can be an arduous task. It is difficult to find a start and continue to elaborate. Making sure that you are organized and well referenced can greatly help in this. You will be able to remember the research better and have more accurate information. The citation process is often filled with common errors that most people don't even realize their making. This guide is designed to help with the task of research.
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Step 1: Having a Specific Research Topic
1. Have a specific topic to research.
Know exactly what it is that you are researching. If your topic is too broad then you won't be able to dig deep into the subject. On a word processor of choice (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, etc..) make a diagram of Topics and Sub-Topics that are involved with your research. This should go from Broad to narrow subject matter. Making such a diagram will help you stay organized. Doing this will at least give you a start. Research shows that starting a project is the most difficult part of the creative process for the majority of people.
Step 2: Reputable Sites
This may sound rather trivial, but having reputable sources is extremely important. Its is also more difficult than most people realize to find reputable sources. Wikipedia can be used, but one must check the references at the bottom of ever Wikipedia article. There are references at the bottom of every Wikipedia article that are referenced in the article it self via foot notes (little numbers that appear at the top write of words in the article). It is highly recommended that you should avoid blogs as they often contain rumors, opinions, and general misinformation. Its is also recommended that you avoid any sites that do not end in (.edu, .com, .gov, and .org). These sites are almost always paid for and thus would most likely not be spam or opinions. (.net) sites are can be dangerous for research, but you can always check for reputable sources on a (.net) site to make sure that it is safe.
Step 3: Things to Do While Researching:
Taking notes is one of the most important things that one can do while researching information. Most people believe that they can remember what the information is, but the human brain is notoriously bad at retaining information accurately. On the top of your notes sheet write the name of your website, the date at which you started the notes, and your name. This is to make sure that your notes are organized and that you can always keep track of them. Every time you encounter a new sub-topic in the website write the name of the sub-topic on you notes sheet before continuing your notes below the sub-title. Writing things down also reinforces your memory of the topic because you basically go through the info in more detail as you write it down.
Step 4: More Things to Do While Researching:
An easy way to create the citations for your sources is to make them directly after you view a reputable website. It is recommended that you use the website (Noodle-tools.com) to create your citations. You are provided a more in depth analysis of the citation creation process where you can control most of the details. Websites like Easy-bib can also be used but the citations they create tend to have inaccuracies. Such sites derive their information from citations that were previously made about the research site that you visited. Due to the public nature of these websites, the citations may have been created by people who don't know how to make the citations properly. Using noodle-tools also allows you to learn how to make citations correctly.
Once you have made your citations in a trustworthy citation website (for most historical research purposes the citations should be in MLA format) copy the entirety of the citation. On your notes document create an empty page at the end. Write citations as the title of the page. Paste the citation that you had copied earlier, make sure that it is in a numbered list. Most word processors such as Microsoft Word or google docs automatically continue the list once you place the first number, if you are using the Word processor that does not, make sure to continue the list.
Step 5: Putting It All Together
By the end of the research process you should have notes document that is filled with details about a specific topic. This document should also contain all the citations for the websites that you used. Now that you are familiar with noodle-tools and the citation making process you can try to make them by your self. Once you have made a few examples cross check them with citations made in noodle-tools for the same site.
If your are writing a paper, which is most people's reason for performing such research, you should use these steps:
1. You already have a full document with information about your topic! Use this to your advantage, if you're writing a analysis paper about the topic you can simply configure the document you already have to fit the assignment. This will not really work for historical fiction, however.
2. Use in text citations: Using in text citations allows the reader to know exactly what section of your paper you are referencing. This will avoid any complications that can be caused by a reviewer (such as a teacher) from mistaking the reference for a set of information.