Knowing How and What to Research in you College Essays

Research is the part of the writing process that most people dread, but a lot of that is because they are looking at research in the wrong light. The whole process has been labeled as the boring part of writing. But what if it was considered as something fun, something that everyone loves doing all the time? When you really think about research, it’s just a formal form of foreplay. It’s getting to know the topic before getting down and dirty with it. It could be considered the most exciting part of the writing process if people just gave it a chance. Hopefully, the tips below can help you see research in this sexy new light, and then you can apply my theories to the research you have to do for your supply chain management degree.

How Many Sources Do You Need?

If you start thinking about research in a fun and exciting way, the whole process seems to go a lot faster. The problem that a lot of people have is that they don’t know when to stop researching or they don’t do enough research before they start writing. It’s a difficult balance, but there are some rules of thumb that you can consider.

If a person is writing a short essay (probably 1000 words or less), then all he needs is three good sources to provide the information that you need. One source isn’t sufficient because he would be basing all of his knowledge on one other person’s opinions. If he uses two sources, then he runs into the problem of getting two vastly different versions of the same information. That’s where the third source comes in. It acts as a tiebreaker between the two and allows the writer to pick a majority opinion to base his information on. Sure this isn’t a foolproof system, but if someone isn’t writing a huge essay, there’s no sense in doing more research than necessary.

Obviously, the larger the essay that a person needs to write is, the more research that he’ll have to do. A ten-page paper can’t be based on three small sources. There just isn’t enough information to work with. For multi-page essays, one can assume that you’ll need one to two resources per page of text. A five page paper needs anywhere from five to ten resources, depending on the subject. Just like the other rule, this doesn’t work for every essay. If someone isn’t very knowledgeable about the subject you’re writing about or if the topic covers a wide range of subjects, you would have to do more research than you would on a narrow subject that he was familiar with. If you feel like you don’t have enough information, then the best solution is to research some more. No one will complain that you know too much about a subject.

What Sources Do You Need?

In terms of what you need to research, you will, of course, need to find sources that fit the topic you are about. You also need to make sure that you are getting your information from an accredited source that is an authority on the subject. It’s important to try to find sources that don’t seem too biased. If most of the sources are biased, then you need to make sure that you get sources from both sides of the argument. This will let you form your own conclusions and have a well-rounded opinion on the topic. Most people will say to avoid internet sources, but as long as the information comes from knowledgeable authors or companies, there shouldn’t be any problems.

Final Words

Still, the best thing to do when researching is to think about it in the right way from the start. Stop dreading the research process and embrace it as something fun and exciting. If a writer is eager to learn about a given subject, he is a lot more likely to fully grasp the information. As long as he follows some basic rules of thumb along the way, he’ll be finished in no time. So go out there–learn, explore, and search every corner of the world for information. Just be sure to start off having a little bit of fun.

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