This chapter introduces key aspects of the research process: understanding the assignment, types of research projects, and conducting preliminary research. While understanding the assignment may seem simple, it is frequently overlooked by students who often jump into research without a full understanding of the parameters of the project. This chapter will help you understand assignment prompts, guidelines, and expectations as well as types of literary research papers, intended audience, and the purpose of the project.
In Conducting Preliminary Research, we discuss all that goes into this early inventive stage of the research process. Topics include how to conduct “pre-research” to investigate possible topics, why it’s a good idea to talk with experts, how to understand what types of resources you will need and where to find them, time management, setting benchmarks, and more. Preliminary research sets the foundation for more in-depth research.
Focus on the most basic aspects of the research process. By reading this chapter and responding to the related discussion prompts, you will learn to
- understand the assignment before you start researching.
- focus on problems and relevance rather than on general topics.
- talk with experts in your field and with your subject librarian.
- set benchmarks and take lots of notes.
Being diligent about this early stage will save you time later and decrease your stress throughout the rest of your research project.