Research? Research…… Research!!!! Through the wonder of punctuation marks I just introduced you into the world of research which can be confusing (the question mark), cause deep thoughts (the dot dot dot) and be exciting (the exclamation points).  What I am about to present to you is a research guide that was come up by a seasoned college student (myself) that I believe can and will help any high school student who is looking to come into college, grab research by the horns and ride off with it into the sunset.

The first and most basic thing that can help you become a good researcher is the environment you choose to do research in. If you are trying to interpret something you are reading in your room with Jay-Z blasting on the speakers while listening to your roommate tell you all about how special he or she feels about being chosen to rush for a sorority or fraternity, then you are probably not going to grasp the material very well. The best place to go to research is the library where it is quiet and you can concentrate. Also doing it without music on in your headphones would be ideal but depending on the document music will not inhibit you much. If you can listen to music and at the same time feel like your grasping what is being said in the document you are reading then you go right ahead slim. However, if you find yourself getting to the end of a page and thinking “ I have no clue whether I just read about a dog who likes cats or a cat that likes dogs,” then I would consider getting rid of the music. There is also an alternative which can be a nice middle ground between the two, and that is to listen to music without any words. There are two main groups of music without words. There is classical, Sebastian Bach could really play the cello, and instrumentals, for example one of those twenty minute long Grateful Dead songs in which they’re just “really feeling the music man.”

Now that we have your environment all figured out lets move onto the actual research itself. Your college library is probably going to be the best place to find information you need to complete your paper. First of all this is where all the books are but a library is much more than that. It has librarians who are going to be able to help you find what your looking for. All you have to know is your topic, in fact you could probably go up to a librarian not even say hi or anything and just say “cheese puffs” and they will whirl you away to the section in the library where all the books written on cheese puffs are. So we have the physical part of the library but almost all colleges also have online resources as well, which is actually where I look first for information because I do not even have to leave my room or put pants on to look at them. College libraries have extensive online information and once again all you need to know is how to type in your topic to the search bar and many books or articles will come up that you can read online.

Once you have your environment and sources settled now comes the hard and most rewarding part, the reading. The best thing to do when reading is to take notes. The way to do this is when you find something that you think relates to your topic, you write a note down on it that summarizes the points and then explains how it relates to your paper. You also include the page number so it would look like this: (pg. 81) King Henry decapitated another one of his wives, this is further evidence that his unrelenting search for a male heir had driven him crazy. Now your probably not going to have time to read entire books or even entire articles and so a good way to find the information you need in the fastest way possible is to look at the subtitles in books or articles. Subtitles in books can be found in the table of contents or the index and in articles they are normally just part of the actual text. So if your looking for information on the Civil War battle of Gettysburg you do not need to read a whole book on the Civil War. Rather go to the table of contents or index and find a section titled “Battles in the North” which will include the Battle of Gettysburg and by just reading this section you will get the information you need.

So thats my research guide. I hope you enjoyed it and if one day we meet in person I am expecting a very sincere thank you.