o Your research is not complete until you share it with the broader community
o Think of your action research and writing as having a conversation with other academics. Your writing adds to, builds on what other scholars are saying.
o Begin with reading the assignment, or developing an idea to research. Your idea should present some sort of problem. Ask some questions about your topic. Here is a section from the APA manual with some of the questions you should ask.
o A sample research idea and some associated questions: if I am interested in how school librarians contribute to increased academic achievement, I first develop questions around my idea. What do school librarians do? Do they teach? What do they teach? Libraries have books? Does reading help with academic achievement? All of these questions need to be researched. You cannot just claim that reading helps with academic achievement, or that school librarians help with academic achievement. You need to show research that supports your claim.
o Once you have a research idea and a list of questions related to your idea, formulate a research question and hypothesis. NOTE: your research question and hypothesis will change.
sample hypothesis: "To sustain U.S. education to a level where students are academically successful...effective school library programs are essential."
o Develop a research strategy.
o List the types of sources/data you will need - primary, secondary, quantitative/qualitative, books, peer-reviewed articles, etc. How current do they need to be?
o List where you find the various types of resources - the Internet, databases, reference works, etc.
o Make a list of unique keywords related to the main content of your research question.
o How will you manage your information? - Keep track of your resources with a working bibliography (RefWorks) from the beginning.
o Before you start writing, sketch out an outline of the different sections of your paper -- Introduction with your hypothesis and research question, literature review, methodology, discussion, conclusion, future research ideas.
o Consult the sources you listed and begin taking notes. You may want to revise your research question and hypothesis after you start reading. This is a typical process.
o When you commence writing a rough draft, make sure that when you make a claim, you support it with evidence in the form of other research, your own research, the writings of other experts in the field, etc.
o To avoid inadvertent plagiarism, make sure you copy and paste the exact quote from a source and note the source right away. DO NOT WAIT. Turn your working bibliography into an annotated bibliography. Paraphrase or summarize what you glean from a source. Keep detailed notes on the source of your information so you can find it again.
o To avoid inadvertent plagiarism, fill in the in-text citation right away.
o To continue to avoid plagiarism, create a References list right away so you can keep track of the sources you cite.