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Develop a Research Plan

by Anna Couey
March 22nd, 2001

Here are some tips for planning and doing a research project.

Step 1: Define Your Research Project

  • What is your purpose in doing the research?

  • What do you need to find out - and why?

  • How much time do you have to do the research?

Step 2: Make a List of Specific Questions

These are the questions that you will answer in doing your research. Prioritize them.

Step 3: Develop Your Research Plan

  • Who is most likely to know the answers to your questions? Go to those resources first.

  • Think about your resources broadly - include people and libraries. Speaking with someone who has already done your research is the fastest way to get an answer.

  • Use a search engine as a last resort, not as a starting point.

If you are doing research with a group, assign research questions so that you are not duplicating efforts.

Step 4: Research

Keep your priorities in mind. If you are having a hard time finding an answer to a particular question, ask yourself how important it is to answer - before you spend lots of time researching it!

Step 5: Review Your Findings

  • Have you answered your questions?

  • How will you use the information you have found?

  • Did your research raise additional questions?

  • How important are they in relation to your purpose?