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How To Develop Good Researching Skills As A Student

Search More Effectively to Improve Schoolwork

By A Sunildutt

Updated November 28, 2012

The Internet has made research a piece of cake or so it may seem for people who are savvy enough to harness the power of the internet search engines. But if you are not one of those people, do not worry as it is never too late to start. Here are a few of the tried and tested techniques to hone your research skills as a student.

Start with a Generic Search

Get a feel for the subject through a generic search, for example, if you want to learn about a career in nursing, then search for "nursing career" and check out all the sites and information that come up. This will give you an overall picture of what a career in nursing will hold and if that is what you really want.


A good technique to keep track of the information that you are collecting is to bookmark as you go. You can always go back and sort the bookmarks and keep only what you want. This will give you a good database of links to fall back on when you are ready to start documenting the results of your research.


Wikipedia is always a good place to start searching for any information to get a snapshot and often it will give you more leads to follow up on. Researching is like investigative reporting and you have to think like a journalist and keep digging into the vast information on the internet.

Get Specific

Get specific as you go. Once you have an overview of the field of nursing, it is time for you to delve deeper into the profession. Try searching for a little more specific topic like "nursing profiles" or if you have a specialty in mind then search for the specialty like "pediatric nurse."

Keyword Search

Now that you have narrowed down the topic you want, it is time to unleash the power of the keyword search. Identify the important piece of information in your topic and use it as the search word.

Phrase Search

If you are looking for information with a certain phrase in mind, for example, if you want to find out all the resources which used the phrase "In God we trust," you can do a phrase search with the phrase in quotations. This will bring up all documents and resources that have the exact phrase "In God we trust".

Boolean Search

Using the Boolean search with "and", "or" and "not" is another way to search by using criteria or conditions especially while searching databases. For example, if you want to search for depression in children, then the "and" operator will retrieve records with both information. Similarly, if you are looking for information on children or adolescents, then the "or" operator can be used.

Simply Simple

It is important not to get carried away while defining your keyword. You can use single words or phrases in your search. But if you find you are not getting relevant information, you have to reassess your search word and try to broaden the topic or search words.

Authenticate your source

There is nothing like citing a source only to find out later that it was not credible. So, it would be a good idea to research the same information one more time to make sure the source and the facts are credible, sort of like getting a second opinion from another doctor. Learn to discern fact from fiction. The source is very important to lend credibility to your research paper or article. A website which will give you information about any website regarding its source and other details is www.who.is.

Scholarly Databases

If you are writing a scholarly article, then Google Scholar can give tons of scholarly articles from journals and reputed magazines. You can also go to magazine and government databases for articles and resources that you can cite in your paper.

E-databases and communities are usually found in university libraries. The librarian can walk you through tools available for students to research information that is found in scholarly journals. Librarians are usually happy when you pick their brain, so make use of them.

Be meticulous

A good researcher will be meticulous without giving up after a few searches. Always have an open and positive mind while searching and try to think out of the box. If you feel you are stuck with no ideas, take a break and do something else that you find interesting. You will be able to focus with a new approach after a break.

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