6 Tips Medical Students Must Follow To Sharpen Their Research Skills : Research is an integral part of every student’s life. And if you are a medical student, you have likely spent hours browsing libraries and the internet to compose a single paper. But even those hours of basic research sometimes fail to produce desired results. What to do then? Is there a correct way to research? Yes, there is.
Researching is a skill that allows you to find the necessary information to create a paper or complete an assignment outline. If you develop exceptional research skills, no topic remains beyond the scope of your knowledge. For this reason, we will discuss some tips that can help you improve your research skills.
Start broad, then move to specifics
It can get overwhelming when you don’t know where to begin your research. But before you gather extensive information on any topic, you must first develop a basic understanding. You must understand all the crucial terminologies and definitions before you dive into the specifics. Therefore, start with a simple internet search. You can use search engines like Google to access different websites that can help you. Websites like Wikipedia don’t always have the correct information. Still, they can give you a basic outline of the subject matter to help you dig further. Now, once you have your basics down, you can begin looking for specific queries. However, if you are enrolled in a higher education degree such as a masters in clinical research, your research technique can be a little different since you’d require more evidence-based information. In such an instance, you can probably skip the basics and focus on the details right away.
Learn to recognize a quality source
As we said before, sources like Wikipedia are not reliable. This is because anyone can make edits to a Wikipedia page, which makes any citation from that website unreliable in research papers. Therefore, it is crucial to learn how to differentiate a reliable source of information from an unreliable source. In order to identify a reliable source of information, you will need to wring your brain and make use of your critical thinking skills. Finding answers to questions such as these can help you narrow down credible sources:
- Does the information in this source confirm that fund from other sources?
- What is the credibility of the author?
- Is it possible that the author’s sentiments are not entirely objective?
The credibility of the author matters as much as the content. Therefore, research the background of the author you are quoting apart from the content.
Verify the information
If you use the internet to set down your basics, you need to work harder to verify your information. This is because the internet is a place that has very few restrictions on people and the information they put up. They can create their website and post any content and information they want. Sometimes, these people don’t check the content to see if the facts they are presenting are accurate or not. Therefore, the best way to overcome this issue is by cross-referencing your information to verify its truth. You should consult multiple web pages for this purpose and only work with reliable content.
Be open to surprising answers
While it is entirely natural to have a bias, there is no place for it in research. Therefore, you should be open to finding answers to questions that do not verify your beliefs. The act of research to simply confirm an idea is a questionable and limiting aspect for every researcher. Furthermore, picking and choosing the information you write about prevents you and your reader from developing an accurate idea and understanding of the question. Therefore, when you sit down to conduct research, leave your biases aside and be open to surprising answers. It will aid your learning process and make you more knowledgeable.
You must also recognize that revised researches on the same topic exist. Therefore, the research you consult from the 20th century may not be credible anymore if a new study proves it wrong. Consequently, it can come off as an unreliable source.
The internet is the most significant source of information you will ever find. So when you sit down to collect data, you will discover heaps of it in all formats. These formats will range from articles, PDFs, videos, and much more. But to make your research data tangible, you must learn to organize it in some way. Organizing your data will save you from getting lost in the content and help you manage information accordingly. Some methods that can help you sort data include: bookmarking your web results according to the topic heading, creating an index card to cross-reference, and creating a bibliography to update as you proceed with the research.
You should update your bibliography side-by-side because it is easy to lose track of your references. Create a bibliography section at the beginning of your research and update it regularly to prevent that from happening.
Dive into the library
Research methods vary according to every topic. Therefore, it is natural to face confusion about the whole process that would suit your specific research demands. But if you still have questions, you can refer to libraries to find content related to your study. Apart from that, having a supervisor guide you through the entire process can save you a headache and lots of time.
Research is the art of finding information from the depths of internet and library resources and using it to answer your questions. However, to conduct quality research, you must keep all these points in your mind. These methods can help you find accurate answers to your research questions rather than confirming some speculations. Apart from that, research can open you to many more possibilities. Therefore, it is essential to keep an open mind about the information you find and stick to the actual cause of your research rather than your biases.
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