Physical Science How To Research

Discussion in 'Physical Science' started by Zsandmann, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. Zsandmann

    Zsandmann Premium Member

    When researching a scientific topic, or any topic for that matter you should first do the following.

    Write down your project. - What is it you ultimately want to learn? What is the goal?

    Write down the fields that this topic could span. Are these every day topics that can be found in the public library, or are they more specialized in nature?

    Now you have a rough project idea and where you think you can find it.

    Online Research - One word - Google. Seriously Google taps into every web site you could hope to find. This is your go to source. If you are a student or faculty at a university, and some high schools now, go to the website of your library. They most likely have an online card catolog, and a reference database. The reference data bases I use for Geology are called Georef and Web of Science. These contain all kinds of science magazines and journals. Your library wont have them all but many libraries can request articles from other libraries if you ask the reference librarian.

    Next, you have a stack of books now, READ. Everything remotely related to the topic, you want to be very familiar with the literature and terms of your topic. Take notes, photocopy, highlight, etc.

    If you know of any companies, businesses, individuals that are associated with your topic, write them a letter requesting information, or email them. Most are happy to assist you.

    Go back to the library. You now KNOW what you are looking for so ask the "REFERENCE LIBRARIAN" to show you materials in your topic. These people are well versed in many topics from years of searching and could pull a pin out of a hatstack blindfolded.

    Now begins writing.

    Rewrite your topic to the new ideas you have accumulated in your reading. This should be a sentence long and concise as possible. This is your TITLE.

    Next create an outline, I like this format:

    Introduction - Area of interest, topic/problem statement
    Background - Past work in this area briefly discussed here
    Results/Data - Your findings (NO opinions, no interpretation)
    Analysis - This is where you interpret what you found, the meaning.
    Conclusion - Wrap up the problem, everything you have shown
    References - MLA format citation of anything you used for paper
    Figures and Charts, Photos, etc. All the graphic data
    (Be sure to cite references and figures in the paper as you are writing or go back and add them after completion)

    Tune it to what you are writing about.
    Now go in and add one or two word bullets in each section. After That replace each bullet with a couple concise sentences.

    Now add extra sentences with more detail and explanation. A little tuning and you have a rough draft. Refine until done, have others read, edit, and critique. The ABSTRACT is usually written last but it is the first section. It is a paragraph to page long section that condenses everything in your paper into pure facts, data, etc. There is no description or opinion in an ABSTRACT.

    Your paper is now ready to submit to a journal or magazine for review.
  2. tablet

    tablet Premium Member

    Links (Resources)

    A Research Guide for Students

    Research 101

    Writing Guides

    A Web guide for Researcher


    Those are for now. A few more are unsorted and need to be sorted. Anyone have any should post.