Online Guide to Writing and Research
Chapter 4: The Research Process
Where Are Research Resources Found?
Most teachers are well versed in research methods and may be invaluable human resources as you pursue your assignment. They are familiar with the kinds of sources you will need to consult. As subject matter experts, they can guide your research by recommending readings, outside sources, and even topics and subjects related to your research inquiry of which you may be unaware. They can help you address issues of importance in your area of study and avoid researching nonproductive areas. For example, your biology teacher may tell you that conducting library research on cures for AIDS may prove tiresome and inconclusive. He or she may recommend that you focus on two or more recent developments in the search for a cure, starting with representative articles from the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine. This advice can help you focus your research in areas that are productive, authoritative, and up-to-date, saving you hours of valuable time. In addition to your teacher, librarians are invaluable resources for your research.
Among the most useful of tools for conducting research with human resources are interviews, questionnaires, and surveys. For field research, for example, you may need to be able to conduct interviews or design surveys and questionnaires. To discover how to do that, you may talk to your teacher or even consult your library and electronic resources.