5 research hacks guaranteed to make your life easier

Cover credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery

Because there are things that Google just cannot do for you.

1. Use quotations to narrow your search.

When entering keywords into Google’s search tab, make sure to put them in between quotations in order to only get the sources citing the exact same term(s) you’re looking for in the results. Try typing your name and family name with and without quotation to get a sense of the efficacy of this method.

2. Do not skim aimlessly across scholarly articles.

As an undergrad, you will hardly ever have enough time to read an entire scholarly article or delve deeply into its subtleties (you’re almost always operating under tight deadlines and have too much on your table already). In order to fill the gap, your best bet is to search for keywords inside your Word document or PDF to redirect your focus and avoid wasting your time on sections that you do not need.

3. Bookmark useful pages instead of lining up an infinite number of tabs.

Many students fall into the trap of opening too many tabs at once, thinking they’ll have the time to come back to all these pages later on (and sometimes have to undergo an enormous hassle going through their search history to retrieve these pages after closing all tabs/windows by mistake). You can avoid the unnecessary drama by bookmarking needed tabs for later reference (that little star can save you an awful lot of time).

4. Refer to your university’s online databases and other library resources.

Your university’s library is home to a vast collection of resources of all types including books, articles, DVDs, guidelines and databases. It would just be a shame not to refer to this available stream of knowledge out of sheer laziness. You can always seek the help of your university’s librarian or conduct your own research within the online databases that are accessible on your official college website.

5. Always double-check your info.

Your research paper needs to be a Wikipedia-free environment. You may use wikis for quick initial searches of course but you have no excuse to come back to them when you have carefully-researched scholarly articles at hand. Make sure to double check key concepts across different sources/articles to insure that you’re referencing credible and established information/quotes.