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Saturday, January 5, 2019

How to Research a Topic Online

Online research is a crucial skill, whether you’re working on an academic paper, writing a blog post, or just trying to learn something new about your houseplants. But it’s not always easy when you’re tackling a complicated or niche topic.

Organize Your Information Early On

Organizing your information can help you save time, and it can save you from forgetting or misremembering anything that you’ve learned from your research. You should keep a link to every webpage that you visit from the start to the very end of your research. It’s best to write down a little bit of information for each link so that you remember why you saved them and what kind of information that you could take from them. You should also save any PDF’s or images related to your research because you can use them as valuable primary sources.

If you need to organize a lot of data across multiple devices, consider using a note-taking app like Evernote, OneNote, or Google Keep. They’re all great for keeping track of web pages, PDF’s, photos, and whatever else you need for your big project.

If you’re just trying to knock out a short essay or learn something about DIY woodworking, then you probably don’t need to grab a dedicated note-taking app unless you already use one. You might find it easier to cut and paste web pages into a Word or Google Doc file and save any PDFs or images to your local or cloud storage drive. Just make sure that you keep your files organized and take notes for all of your sources.

In the end, you’ll probably only use a handful of the links that you save. But if you’re publishing a blog post or writing an essay, you need to be able to double-check and cite all of your sources. Otherwise, you might end up creating a lot of extra work for yourself later.

Start Broad and Collect a Lot of Information

When researching, it’s tempting to dive straight into the first exciting thing that you find. But you should try to start as broad as possible. Otherwise, you might miss out on some fascinating pieces of information and end up with a poor understanding of your topic.

That’s why you should try to find a lot of information on your topic, more than you think that you’ll need. A good way to start broad is to search Google for general terms related to your topic. If you’re researching the difference between sunflowers and tulips, then you should learn a bit of information about each flower before going deeper.

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