Education students need to be skillful researchers. The field of study is bursting with theories on just about everything—from standardized testing to instructional approaches to how students think and learn—which means that a research paper is almost always around the bend of every course.
But to teach, you first have to learn. Why not start with learning how to most effectively research? These tips will help you when it comes time to write that next paper or conduct your capstone project study.
Utilize Library Resources
You’re an education student, so you love the library. But do you know how to fully take advantage of all the great resources it has to offer? College libraries contain dozens of databases and journal collections that could be perfect for citing in papers. They might even share resources with other schools in the state using a link system.
Contact a librarian to see if your library provides demonstrations on how to use the materials . Ask to be shown how to use the online resources that are helpful in researching a topic. When you’re with the librarian, be sure to ask if you’ll be able to use these resources at your home computer or laptop, too. And bring a notebook and pen to jot down notes and shortcuts so that you won’t forget. You’re getting your education degree, but let the librarian do the teaching at this meeting.
Learn Search Engine Tricks
Once you get familiar with the types of databases you have access to, tackling their collections is your next task.
It all starts with understanding how to properly type in search terms to find the journals and articles that can be the most helpful to you. Learn how to set search specifications for:
- Date ranges of publications
- Subject areas
- Authors/journals/article titles
- Peer-reviewed articles
- Full-text sources
- Keywords or key phrases, and much more
Locating relevant sources is hard at first. Getting the hang of how the search engine reads your input and working around it will take time, but as you get used to it, your searches can get easier.
Narrow Your Search
Another way to shorten your search time is by using reference lists wisely. Say you find one perfect source to use for a paper. It talks about the topic you’re studying, cites great studies and even takes the side you’re arguing. Instead of spending any more time on a new search, use what you have to find what you’re looking for. Look at the back of your perfect article at the author’s reference list and use the sources listed for your own study. Your author had to research too, you know, and all the leg work is right there for you to use.
Sharpening your research skills is only one of the first steps in reaching your goals. Enroll in an education degree program today to start your journey toward your own educational opportunities.
This article is presented by AIU. Contact us today if you’re interested in an opportunity to develop knowledge and relevant skills with an industry-current degree program from AIU.