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Module 2: Planning for research

A research strategy

Footpath in a forrest.

As you begin searching for sources for a research assignment, you may find that there is an overwhelming amount of information on almost every topic. 

Or you may have the opposite experience: you search and search and find nothing or only find sources that don’t seem to fit. 

The solution to these problems is having a Research Strategy: a plan for the types of sources you will use (books, magazines, primary sources, etc.).

With a good plan in place, you will be able to recognize good sources when you find them, making your search process more efficient and satisfying.

By the end of the module you'll be familiar with:

  • Defining types of sources.
  • Picking the right sources for your research project.

Identifying types of sources

As you get ready to leave home each morning, there are usually some things you might need to find before you leave.   

You may need to find: 

  • Your keys
  • Your phone
  • A snack 
  • Your bus pass

There are also usually many things around your home that you do not need to find in the morning, including:

  • A pillow
  • Your slippers
  • A dish towel
  • A broom

Finding the things you need is easier if you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. While you’re looking for your keys and your phone, you can bypass the towels and slippers that might distract you.

When you’re searching for information, it’s helpful to start your search with an idea of the type of information you’re looking for. This will help you focus your attention on what you need and not get bogged down in the information types that you’ve decided won’t help you.

Image: http://www.ForestWander.com [CC BY-SA 3.0 us (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/deed.en)]