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Basic Guidelines for Research


Listed below are basic guidelines you should always keep in mind before starting a research assignment.

Your research paper should follow all of the instructions given by your instructor.

Research assignments will vary depending on the program, instructor, and level of course work. Your instructor will usually give you detailed instructions explaining what you will be writing about, what information to include, and how the paper should be formatted. Be sure to follow these instructions. This will keep you from having to waste time and energy modifying your paper late in the process because you forgot to include required details.

Have a complete understanding of the research assignment and its scope.

If you are not sure about the scope or direction of your assignment, talk to your instructor for clarification or more information. You cannot produce an effective paper if you are not clear about the assignment.

Be aware of the required minimum or maximum length of your paper.

If you are required to write a paper of a certain length of pages, try not to exceed or fall short of that number.

Be aware of the format required for presenting your assignment.

Research assignments are no longer limited to hand written text. In fact, very few instructors will accept hand-written assignments. Therefore, you should be aware of the different types of research paper formats and presentation styles available, as well as the computer software technology needed to use them. Possible presentation formats to consider include the following:

Poster session
Power Point presentation
Web pages
Video Presentations

Pay close attention to all due dates.

Most instructors deduct credit for work turned in late; in some cases as much as a whole letter grade. Therefore, it is very important you know the date that your assignment is due. Some instructors will require that you turn in everything at one time. Others may have you turn in portions of your assignment at intervals. For example, an instructor may ask you to turn in a rough draft before the final paper is due. In a case like this, knowing due dates is particularly important.

Don't wait until the last minute.

The sooner you start your research, the more time you will have to write a successful paper. If you wait until the last minute to begin your assignment you may not have enough time to develop your topic. Also keep in mind that other students may need to use the same library materials as you. If you wait too late to look for information resources, you may find that the books and materials have already been checked out of the library.

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