Thanks to the internet and accelerated advancement in telecommunication, getting the information you need has never been easier and more accessible.
The days of reserving all your inquiries until the next trip to the library or study hall are long gone.
Students can now read eLearning articles online, watch video tutorials, and play gamified online courses that will both entertain and educate them.
However, even experts in the IT field and tech-savvy individuals may find it challenging to sift through all the data to uncover the relevant and essential.
As a result, improving research skills has become essential in this day and age.
Screening through the accessible but massive amount of data and information has become a valuable currency in work and business.
This post will teach you how to improve your web research skills.
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What is the importance of research skills?
Research abilities are essential for writers since they allow them to discover material and construct an outline for their writing assignment, whether creative or academic.
Research also informs you about any field you need to write about by adopting organized and effective research procedures.
It would be best if you also had research when you’re fulfilling a job role. By researching first, you’ve equipped yourself with valuable information to deal with the obstacles that may come your way.
One might say that research is only crucial if you’re a writer or producing content. I say research is essential, whatever your job or industry type.
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Tips to enhance your web researching skills
Here are some research strategies and techniques to assist you in improving your research and writing abilities:
(1) Begin with the big picture and work your way down to the specifics.
While conducting research, it can be challenging to know where to begin. However, there is nothing wrong with running a basic online search to get you started.
While not always correct, online resources such as Google and Wikipedia are excellent as a base point for your subject. They typically provide a basic overview, brief background, and reliable sources.
(2) Make a strategy.
After you’ve determined your research goals, you’ll need to figure out how to get there. And to do that is to make a project strategy.
The strategy includes a schedule, possible sources, and deliverables in your proposal. Create a timeline to have a visual depiction of when each phase is due.
You can also list probable sources to get a sense of direction, where you might go, and what periodicals to read to get the information you need. Include deliverables in your plan as well.
Deliverables are the results of your research that you can show to your boss at regular intervals till the deadline. If you have three weeks to perform the analysis, you might provide one deliverable at the beginning of each week.
(3) Learn how to spot a reliable source.
Because not every seed is reliable, it’s critical to distinguish between good and rubbish. Use your analytical and critical thinking skills to find a reliable source by asking yourself the following:
- Is this source consistent with other sources I’ve discovered?
- Is the author an expert on the subject?
- Does a conflict of interest taint the author’s point of view on this topic?
(4) Examine authority and expertise.
A reliable source has a good reputation. The information you find there is reliable because it has been thoroughly researched, vetted, and verified. It is especially true for information obtained from the internet.
It would be best to prioritize websites with domain names ending with .gov or .edu domain. Always consider the authority and expertise of all your sources.
(5) Sort through your bookmarks.
Although it may appear obvious, many people do not take the time to manage their bookmarks. If you are sifting through a large amount of data, bookmarks will make your life much easier.
The simplest method is to use your browser’s built-in bookmark manager. Make folders for specific items you’re looking for and keep related URLs in them.
You can even go as far as making subfolders.
If you’re serious about organizing your bookmarks, you should try installing a bookmarking add-on. There are plenty of bookmarking services that offer features that you may find fit your professional needs.
Some bookmarking services will even display results from other users who have tagged the same information.
But whatever method you use, having a well-organized bookmarking system is essential for effective research.
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(6) Make use of the resources available at the library.
Don’t worry if you still have questions about researching. Many tools are accessible to help you, even if you’re not a student undertaking academic or course-related research.
Many high school and university libraries offer staff, students, and public research opportunities. For research guides and access to specific databases, go to any library’s website. You’ll find tons of resources that you’ll not find anywhere else.
(7) Use keywords to your advantage.
We refer to the ideas and concepts that define the scope of your search as keywords.
Keywords such as “handheld vacuum cleaner,” “running shoes,” and “excellent shoe stores” may not appear to be complete sentences.
Nonetheless, any search engine will return multiple relevant results. These words will assist you in narrowing your search and providing relevant topics.
When using keywords, use quote marks to help the search engine streamline your search and deliver results for the exact keyword.
(8) Use a variety of search engines.
When researching, don’t rely on just one search engine; use several. You might begin by using a suggested search engine in your field or your favorite.
Most search engines provide comparable information on a topic. But you’ll notice several variances that will help you with your research if you look closely.
(9) Be open to unexpected answers.
Good research aims to find answers to your research questions, not necessarily to confirm what you already believe. Only seeking confirmation is a minimal research method because it requires selecting and choosing what information to gather.
It also prevents you from developing the most accurate understanding of the subject. When researching, keep an open mind to learn as much as possible.
(10) Find a professional.
You must find reliable source materials for your research. I cannot further emphasize the importance of having established online sources.
And some people who are experts in their field may be able to provide more information. If you have already written about a comparable topic, you’ll know where to start. If not, start with the first few pages or names that come up in your search engine.
Best Tools for Researchers
Google Scholar is a search engine for finding information. This free online research tool by Google is essential for any serious researcher.
If all you have is a computer, an internet connection, and a research topic, Google Scholar will give you a leg up on any project.
Google Scholar is primarily a search engine for academic papers. It allows users to search scholarly journals, white papers, scientific articles, and patents.
Although other sites offer similar services, Google Scholar’s service stands out due to its breadth. It searches the most popular databases for academic articles and has access to several university libraries.
Using Google Scholar increases the chances of discovering something relevant to your investigation.
You can also set up an alert using Google Scholar’s search function. It will alert you if a new article or paper in your field or a specific person or institution gets published.
It also ensures that your research stays at the forefront of your field.
Google Scholar allows you to keep track of your articles across several libraries.
Identify each piece of research and leave the rest to Google Scholar. It automatically displays citation numbers and the version of the text you’re reading.
What’s more, it tells you how many other articles have cited the work in question. Google Scholar will also notify you whenever someone references your paper.
Whereas most productivity tools cater to the corporate world, Trello is suitable and found a home in the academic world.
It’s a helpful and dynamic visual aid that everyone in your research team can use.
Every task on the main project page, from content ideas to research, writing, and publication of papers, may quickly shift around as needed.
Using Trello, you can optimize the research assignment, change team assignments, and view each member’s contributions. It is convenient for assessing completion and research expectations.
Mendeley is a must-have in the world of scientific study. To begin with, it is a social network for the academe that allows you to talk and collaborate with its six million users worldwide.
It’s also a valuable research tool in and of itself.
It helps you keep track of your references and lets you import documents from other sources like Google Scholar. Of course, its users have access to its online database of academic publications, which they can supplement with their own completed work.
Mendeley will automatically construct a bibliography for you as you write your papers. When you add other publications to your research, it will also provide detailed and exact citations.
Employers value research abilities because they help companies develop new products or services, uncover client needs and wants, improve what they do, keep up with industry changes, and compete in their market.
Knowing how to improve your research abilities and market them to employers can benefit you in a variety of ways throughout your career.
In my line of work, I found research as an invaluable tool. I get praised a lot for the value-adding element of research to the services I provide my clients.
If you’re serious about succeeding in freelancing and remote work, start enhancing your web research skills. And now is the perfect time to start.