Research projects, whatever they may be, tend to be some of the least popular among team assignments. Why is this? It’s because research is a lot of work- that’s the honest truth. In order to fully encompass a thought or an idea, massive amounts of information will have to be absorbed. My brain swells just thinking about it. But don’t lose hope, here are a few tricks to get the most out of (and dare I say enjoy) your research.
Just start somewhere
One of the biggest hurdles in beginning a research project is knowing where to start. Rather than overthinking until the point of procrastination, simply begin somewhere. Outlining can be helpful in this process. Once you know what information will be needed for the research, you can start with the simplest element. That initial starting place will lead into another idea and your research will start making a trail for you to follow- you just need to put on your hiking boots.
Set yourself up for clarity
Create a space for your research, both mentally and physically. Carve out specific times in your day when you know you will be working on your project. When moving information from the original source to your research document, make sure you are using your own words. Not only do you want to avoid plagiarism, but also by using your own vernacular you are staking a claim in the information you have collected. If your research starts moving in a direction that is irrelevant or unnecessary, don’t be afraid to erase it and come back to it at another time when you have a better idea of what you need to communicate.
Research can be frustrating when data from one source differs with data from another. Try to find two sources with corresponding data, because having accurate data is non negotiable. If you are collecting metrics make sure to check the date- specifically the year. A couple months ago, I was working on some demographics research and couldn’t get my numbers to match. Then I realized I was looking at one survey from 2017 and another from 2019. Overlooking dates happens to the best of us, but save yourself the trouble and check that first.
Present Your Research
They say the best way to learn is to teach. Talking to someone about your research, what you are learning, and what you are trying to process, will help solidify your thoughts on your research. Not to mention, it will give you practice articulating those thoughts before presentation day.
There is no avoiding a research project. Keeping tabs on current trends, analyzing numbers, and understanding targeted audiences are all integral parts of any healthy and growing business. That being said, welcome research as an indicator of growth. Create a process for your research because everything is less intimidating when systems are set in place to help you conquer them.