How to Effectively Research Your Topic

Research can be daunting, but is necessary both in school and work. Here are some insights to improve your research methods.

How to Effectively Research Your Topic

When researching any topic, there are two ways to do it. The first is what we call freestyling. You consuming as much content about the topic, and then try piecing it together. It’s a style that many people use, especially in school. While it will get you the answers you seek, it’s not a particularly effective use of time. The other way is to develop a focused strategy, by researching the key points and then filling out the rest tactically. This method will result in having higher quality research that you can do in shorter periods of time. As the saying goes, work smarter, not harder. Today, we’re giving you insight into how to effectively research your topic!

Pick your subject

The first thing you need to do is pick your subject. Without a subject in mind, you’re going to have a heck of a time researching it. Now, this doesn’t mean something basic like ‘YouTube’, but rather a more specific niche that you intend to explore. Things that narrow your focus such as ‘YouTube Music Services’. For the most effective subject selection, try to pick out the question you want to answer – that will help guide your research! An example of this might be “What YouTube Music Services exist, and what is the most cost-effective?” It’s a specific focused question that narrows down the research you need to do.

Develop the idea and gather data

With the question or topic you want to explore clearly defined, it’s time to start grabbing information. In this phase of your research, you want to consume any content that already exists. Using a search engine, you’ll be able to find a wealth of information. This comes in the form of user-generated content, whitepapers, and professional documentation. You’ll also find multimedia on YouTube or in images. Gathering as much relevant data to the subject you want to address is crucial. At this point, you should develop a very clear understanding of the basics and are ready to move forward.

Vet your data and dig deeper

User-generated data, Wikipedia, YouTube, and blogs are sources of useful information, but they can’t always be trusted. A website may have an unannounced bias or a spin. Wikipedia tries their best to vet their information, but everyone has seen a rogue joke fact about something at some point. You want to vet your sources and dive deeper into who’s providing them. Then with your newly learned knowledge, it’s time to go even further into the research. While your previous focus remains, you now should have an understanding of specific niche target keywords to explore. These will generate new and more topic specific research opportunities.

Write your initial findings

If you’re creating a script for a video, or you’re writing a paper – your first draft is generally more of an outline of what your script/paper will look like. You may type sentences, or you may use short bullet points. In either case, this is where all the research starts to form into a cohesive item. You want to load this up with information sorted based on where it fits best – as in the next phase you’ll be parsing it down to develop your final document.

Write, proofread and rewrite

Now, take your raw document and start filling out the data. Develop paragraphs or scripts to tackle each stage of your research. Once you have completed your basic draft, proofread it. Then, while it may seem unnecessary to some, attempting to rewrite portions of your document will help immensely in making it flow better. You’ll also find holes in your script where you’ll need to go back and find supporting data to fill in the gaps. Finally, after another proofreading of your document, you’re ready to push your final copy! If you’ve been writing a script, the only thing you might be missing is natural speaking terminology. When you go to record the lines, make sure that you allow yourself some flexibility in what you say. Otherwise, congratulations - you’ve effectively researched your topic!

How To: Nurture Your Creativity in 7 Ways
7 Brainstorming Tips To Keep Your Content Fresh