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How To Research Effectively: Tools And Tips For Better Research Processes

For educatorsFor journalistsFor marketersFor students
How to research effectively

Whether you’re a graduate student, conducting research for your thesis, a journalist mid-investigation or a professional researcher who digs up and analyzes tons of information on a daily basis, conducting practical research is basically the stuffing of your life. Given the increase in information available and traceable, researchers need to constantly up their research skills game.

Why is research important not only to scientists, academics, and journalists though?

Research helps us build, develop, and pass on knowledge as a society, it nourishes individual minds and our collective mind, it supports truths, and helps eliminate lies or misinformation. Practical research is also the driving force for Business. Companies that invest in thorough research possess a better understanding of markets and can have serious advantages in creating their strategies.

Practical research methods
Source: QuestionPro

Another question then: how to research effectively?

The pool of available information enlarges by the day, so the research methods employed by professionals and non-professional researchers have to improve, allowing the conductors to find, verify, and structure the information quickly and effectively.

Here are some PhD tips and pointers on how to research effectively and take advantage of the tools and methods available in our digital age.

Practical Research Team

Based on conversations with various teams of researchers, we’ve established an optimal research team composition and management of remote teams and processes. This is what an effective research team would look like:

  • Lead Researcher – responsible for ensuring ethical, financial, and administrative compliance;
  • Sub-Investigator – may perform all/some functions of the Lead, but doesn’t carry the primary responsibility. They are responsible for performing study-related procedures and /or to make important study-related decisions;
  • Regulatory Coordinator – responsible for drafting and editing the document;
  • Data Coordinator – responsible for the overall data management of a research process;
  • Research Coordinator/Nurse – oversees and coordinates the daily activities of research studies.

How Does Long Research Process Take?

The best answer to what the timeframe of a research process is: it always takes longer than a researcher anticipates.

A small research package would take at least 6-8 weeks. While open research with researchers on the team changing can take anywhere from 5 to 10+ years.

Where To Get Information?

Today the World Wide Web is littered with information and it’s sometimes hard to filter well-supported and verified information (especially if it’s new) from opinions, unbased hypotheses, and sloppy research.

Research Process Data Organization
Source: SpringerNature

Here are a few tools and digital spaces well-recommended by professional researchers to improve your research processes.

  • Google Scholar – targeted search engine that gives researchers instant access to a variety of academic resources.
  • Microsoft Academic – This resource is based on a concept called ‘semantic search’ which implies taking words’ and phrases’ actual meaning into account as opposed to just relying on keywords.
  • Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)– this is an online research engine for aspiring teachers and other professionals that opens doors to a database of over 1.3 million bibliographic records like abstracts and citations dating all the way back to the 1960s.
  • ResearchGate – a top engine for researchers. The majority of the current population of the site consists of users seeking and sharing information on biology and medicine. However, the site also offers information on niche areas of computer science, engineering, and even psychology.
  • Bielefeld Academic Search Engine – this is a paid subscription but, as is logical, those provide the greatest value. You can be 100 percent confident in the data and information dug up from this resource. Open access users can still look to the academic search engine for journals, digital collections, and more.
  • COnnecting  REpositories (CORE) – This is hundreds of millions of research papers aggregated from nearly 10,000 data providers in 145 countries. Invaluable bonus: CORE is free.
  • Semantic Scholar – This AI-driven resource aims at higher stakes for academic research processes and gives access to information from over 184 million scientific papers. This information is then linked to provide researchers with a comprehensive take on a variety of cutting-edge topics.
  • An Online Visual Collaboration Platform for Teamwork | Miro – This tool can be useful for any researcher, professional or not, to keep all the information in one place.
  • Audext – this app uses AI to convert speech to text online to help researchers transcribe and systemize their audio research. The tool is extremely cost-effective and about 200 times faster than manual transcription. This application of AI saves researchers all over the world a lot of time.
  • Zotero – One of the most popular tools among researchers. It helps you gather, organize, and keep the information in your personal library, so you will not lose it.
  • Mendeley – a Reference Manager that simplifies your workflow by keeping all of your references in one place and helping you cite sans mistakes.

Other tools popular with online internet researchers include the Google Docs package, their Microsoft equivalents, and different apps, databases, and languages like R, Python, SQL, Drop Shipping, Lead Gen., etc. Google Scholar, Google Books, Microsoft Academic, Science.gov are recommended by researchers for credible sources.

And if you’re an Economics or Stat graduate you will likely benefit from research skills in SPSS, STATA, Gretl, EViews, etc.

Do not underestimate coffee as a tool for how to research effectively either. It’s a powerful force in the world of online research.

PhD Tips For Research Processes

Further, you will find a medley of advice given to us by professional researchers, journalists, doctorate students, and research amateurs. We can call them ‘PhD Tips’.

  • Above all are facts. So, state only the facts;
  • Start Early – you’ll need extra time to deal with setbacks and gather sufficient data for the research, so giving yourself a headstart is a good idea;
  • One step at a time – focus on one task and one research level at a time;
  • Know your respondents and target them – this will help organize data early with no data clogs;
  • TRUST your co-researcher. You will have your role to play in a given research process – do your thing. Finish with accuracy and efficiency;
  • Be concise – no need to be wordy and eloquent in your research. Keeping it short and sweet is one of the most valuable research skills;
  • Follow a specific format – keep it uniform and presentable;
  • Citations – perhaps the highest rule in the land of practical research;
  • Smile – researching is a scrupulous and stressful task, actively try to take away from your team’s stress and not add to it.

Talking about the citations, here is a great example of how to do it in the right way and avoid plagiarism:

Research Process Ethics
Source: iThenticate

Whether you’re just starting your first research or are a weathered professional, going over these “PhD Tips” will do you a lot of good.

Research often stays backstage, behind the discoveries and breakthroughs but in every field, in every science, in every news story, research is the foundation on which success is built.

If you want your research to carry value and contribute to the giant database of precious knowledge, you should update your research skills perpetually.

This article could be your first step in learning how to research effectively.

Katrin Deres 01/18/2021
Katrin runs her own podcast show, and interested in best ways to transcribe audio recordings into text.
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