Planning your research

Duration: 3 minutes

Learn why research is important, how much research is necessary for your paper, and how to create your personal research schedule.

What’s most important?
  • Find reputable literature that you can quote from without any doubts.
  • Consult additional literature to verify information.
  • Prepare a schedule for your research.

Why is research important?

Comprehensive and accurate research is essential. Relying on a single source isn’t advisable, as incomplete or erroneous information can quickly be disseminated this way. During your studies, you’ll learn to analyze, summarize, and critically assess primary and secondary sources. You can demonstrate your scientific skills in term papers and theses. It’s important that you justify your arguments well and properly cite them from other texts. You should also double-check these sources online before quoting from or citing them. This way, you contribute to diverse and up-to-date scientific research with your paper.

How much research do you have to do for your paper?

The longest research phase is usually before you start writing. Here, the first thing is to get an overview of the existing discourse on your topic. For some topics, you’ll find a lot of literature and you’ll have to select the most important ones. For others, you’ll have to search longer and rely on a few reputable sources. Be careful not to go down the rabbit hole and focus on the most relevant literature only.

Having a rough schedule for your paper is helpful but sometimes unexpected things happen, especially when it comes to research. It’s best to plan in some buffer time in case you need to find additional information on a topic, because not every source you pick will be reliable and/or suitable. Also, sometimes you come up with new aspects while writing and then you’ll have to search for new literature again. However, creating a schedule at the beginning of your research phase can help you stay on track and start writing on time.

Coming up with a research schedule

Do you know the deadline of your academic paper? If yes, you can plan your research. We’ll show you how to create the perfect schedule.

Ask yourself these questions to start with:

  1. What is the scope of my academic paper?
  2. How much time do I have?
  3. How long does it take me to find and read through my sources?

If you know the scope of your paper and how time-consuming your research is, you can come up with a research schedule. Consider how long it will take to find and read appropriate literature for your specific method. After talking to your supervisor, you can usually get a better idea of the required scope and may even get some tips on relevant reading material. This will make the start of your research much easier.

Is the information you need available online? Then, you can start reading right away! If you want to borrow a book or journal from a library, on the other hand, it can take a while until you get your hands on it. Often, the number of copies in a library is limited, and if the book is already checked out, you’ll have to wait until it’s available again. In this case, check other databases for the text and put your name on the waiting list if possible. In the meantime, you can do online research or search for similar books.

Timeline for your research
⚠ Don’ts
  • Don’t start your research on the day you want to start writing.
  • Don’t forget the requirements given by your supervisor.
  • Don’t rely on a single source.

Test yourself: Do you know what good research is and how to plan it?

Why is research important?

  1. To get a good grade
  2. To prevent the spread of misinformation
  3. To find your favorite book

   B – To prevent the spread of misinformation.

Where can you find sources for your paper?

  1. Online and offline
  2. In the supermarket
  3. Only in the library next door

   A – You can find suitable literature in online databases or libraries, for example.

Who should you ask about the scope of your paper?

  1. Your supervisor
  2. Your best friend
  3. Your favorite scientist

   A – Your supervisor knows best about the required scope of your paper.

How much time do you need for your research?

  1. It depends on the soccer results
  2. It depends on your mood
  3. It depends on the scope of your paper and the research required

   C – It depends on the scope of your paper and the research required.

Should you plan in a buffer to do more research?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Only if it’s summer

   A – In order to limit the stress of unforeseen wait times or additional work that may arise during the research process, it’s best to include a time buffer.

Did you enjoy?
So check out these modules:

  • Module 2
    Duration: 4 minutes

    Finding relevant literature

    Find out what databases you can consult for your research, how to use keywords and filters effectively, and how to use the snowball system.