Let me guess, it’s late at night, you procrastinated your research paper, and now you are struggling to find quality sources to cite in your paper. Let me be the first one to tell you, you are not alone. I too struggle with writing research papers because I feel as if the sources I am using are just not good enough. But once you learn a few tips and tricks of the web you will have quality sources in no time!
First I am going to let you in on a few tricks that I learned to help narrow down my search results on Google…
The more descriptive you can be the better! Searching general terms such as “global warming” will produce millions of results that may overwhelm you, but if you search “global warming longterm effect on the atmosphere” you will return fewer results that will be more useful to your paper.
Too many results? Use Googles ‘advanced search’ option! This option allows you to narrow down results using any detail of the web page such as the URL, description, title, etc.. This is useful if you are searching for a url containing .edu or .gov because Google will only return results containing the information you have requested.
There are many other ways you can use to narrow down Google results, but these are two tips that I find the most helpful!
Once you have narrowed some results on Google and clicked on one of the links, you then need to determine if the source will be a quality source for you to use in your research paper. Ideally you want to check the sources reliability, quality, and utility. Check things such as the author, publish date, and reviews of the website. All of this information will let you know right away if the source is something that is going to be credible and reliable for good information. Also check and see how well the paper is written. Does it cite any sources? Are there any strong details or bias? If the article is too general, it is not something that you will want to use. Also, if the article contains any bias you should avoid it because in a research paper facts are extremely important. Lastly, check and make sure the article is actually focused toward the topic you are writing about. You want to keep your information pretty narrowed, and getting too far off of your topic can hurt your paper. If the webpage meets these credentials it is most-likely a credible source to use and something that will add value to you paper!
Don’t stress too much about your sources! With some practice it will become easier to identify reliable sources!
I have to say, note taking in college is not even close to high school. When you go to class on the first day and your professor is flying through the powerpoint, you feel as if you are missing out on so much information! Let me tell you now, you’re not the only one with this problem, but it does get easier!
First of all, make sure you are prepared for your lecture! If you professor puts notes or lectures online, it may be beneficial to print those out and take them with you to class, or listen to the lecture before hand and take a few notes! This makes lecture much easier because you already know what will be discussed that day and you can focus on what your professor is talking about (because honestly that will probably be the stuff that will be on the exam).
But what if your professor does not give you any information prior to lecture? Then you need to go to class with an open mind! When the lecture starts make sure you have something out to take notes, whether it be a notebook, tablet, or laptop, just be prepared! At the top or your notes write the lecture title and date to make sure you can keep your notes organized all semester! As the lecture goes on write important topics or questions the professor states and expand upon those as the lecture goes on. I first you may become frantic, but it is important to stay relaxed and don’t feel like you have to write everything down, only main topics.
Once starting this process you may become extremely stressed, but it is important to remember that the more you do it the easier it will get. Having organized notes is important because it sets you up for success studying later in the semester. It will be easier to find your notes and recognize the important points! This is a skill that once mastered, will benefit you forever!
This video describes the basics of long division! I know this may seem like elementary work, but do you honestly remember how to long divide? Sometimes it is necessary on a test if you don’t have a calculator! In the video you are being taught that long division is the same as basic division, just in multiple steps! Once you divide the first number and get a remainder, you bring down the next number and repeat the same steps until you no longer have any numbers left to bring down.
This is a very basic topic, but it is something everyone needs to know how to do. It has been so long since we have all learned it, it is a good idea to get a refresher on it because we will probably all be doing some math throughout our life. This 10 minute video is definitely a good tool because the man does a very good job explaining the topic, and the arrows and different signs really help to visualize what you are actually doing.
How much do you actually get accomplished while studying?
Speaking from experience, as a college student myself, I really really struggle getting things done online. Online resources are amazing things, but that does not help the fact that I love social media and most of the time I just enjoy doing anything that isn’t homework.
So, how should you defeat this seemingly impossible task of being distracted?
I suggest turning you phone on do not disturb mode. Also, don’t forget your laptop because if you have a MacBook like me, don’t forget that your messages come up on that too! Then I would suggest making a checklist of things that you want to accomplish while being online that way you can feel accomplished and visually see how much work you got done. Then get to work, and before you know it you will have all of your work done on time!
There are so many amazing study skills online, if you can master the task of studying online without distractions you will notice some amazing benefits. Almost anything you could ever need is located online and you may just find the perfect study tool you need to succeed. Some of these tools include, writing tips, flashcards, quizzes, study games, and many more! If you explore I am confident that you will find something that will work perfect for you! Good luck!
You may think that taking an online class will be easier because you don’t have to communicate with any people, but you are completely wrong. It might actually be harder to than an actual in-person class. Why, you may ask! With an online class, to reach out to any classmates or professors, you must use email. When using email, you must be careful to not come off the the wrong way. You have to be polite and professional. You really have to make your first impression a good one, and that can go wrong if you are not good at communicating through text.
If you think that is bad, it gets worse! Imagine trying to complete an online group project. Don’t get me wrong, this is completely doable, and it can be as easy as you make it, but it is a lot of work. You must find a time when all partners can do a group chat or a group IM. If you are doing a project with many partners, this may be difficult! Once in this group chat, you have to listen to everyones ideas, and also state your own without being overpowering. You must address specific people with questions, and hope that your question gets answered in a timely manner.
I hope I did not scare anyone too much because online classes are really a good opportunity if you do not have time to actually attend an in person class. It is also very easy to communicate with students and professors, you just have to approach them the correct way without being unprofessional or overpowering.
Goodluck with your next online class! You will do great!