Below are the key takeaways from each section of this chapter on researching and documentation. It’s important to remember that performing effective research and using accurate documentation techniques will significantly improve your writing ability both in college and in your professional careers. While researching topics and using APA documentation can appear overwhelming at first to many students, following a few basic rules highlighted in this chapter will make things a lot easier. If you’re ever unsure about how to conduct specific research on a topic, or how to document a particular source, you should always reach out to both your course professor and to your college’s librarians — they are there to assist you. It’s always better to seek guidance in advice rather than to ignore the support available to you either at your academic institution or through the many open resources available online.
- Determine the most appropriate research methodology—informal or formal, primary or secondary—for your audience and purpose depending on the level of rigour required.
- Investigating and narrowing down a research topic involves using databases to locate reputable sources using criteria to assess for credibility such as the quality of the source author, writing, references, and publisher.
- Narrowing down a research topic involves skimming through database search results to select relevant sources, as well as skimming through source texts to pull out main points that support your hypothesis by knowing where to find them.
- Including research in your work typically involves properly quoting, paraphrasing, and/or summarizing source text, as well as citing it.
- Cite and reference each source you use in a research document following the documentation style conventions adopted by your field of study, whether APA, MLA, or IEEE.