Kate - Research Done Right

Hello Scientists!

Two weeks ago I talked about the importance of research. It is crucial to research before you start a project, and all scientists do it. This week, I want to talk more about the process of researching, and the importance of being organized.

Now, I’ll admit, researching is not the most fun or captivating part of the scientific process. It can be really tempting to just start generating solutions or even prototyping before research is done. It can sometimes be hard to sit down and focus on research when you’re itching to get started.

The hardest part about doing research is that we have so much information at our fingertips. You can find information on just about everything today, so you have to make sure your information is correct and your sources are credible. You also have to make sure to cite multiple sources to really back up your facts.

The more research you do, the more prepared you will be. However, it is important to monitor the amount of research that you do. There is such a thing as TOO much research. It is not that hard to bore yourself while researching, and that can kill your ideas and your inspiration to do a project.

However, researching helps a scientist organize and manage their thoughts. You can’t dive blindly into anything in any aspect of life. So, find a way to do a healthy amount of research, and if you have to break up research into different parts of your project, that’s okay too.

This leads me to another important point. It is really important to be organized. Again, I have to admit, once I hit the prototyping stage, my workspace looks like a tornado has gone through it.

At the same time though, I know where everything is, and working in chaos instead of perfection makes me feel more comfortable and creative. Also, if it gets really crazy, I know I have to tidy up.

When doing research, on the other hand, especially in the digital age, organization is even more important. You have to save notes, sources, and other research documents in the same place so they’re easy to access later on.

Labels and titles are also important. For example, I keep a binder with blog information, research, and my scientist’s notebook all in different tabs. The same applies to electronic copies of information. It is helpful to keep everything in one folder and label documents with titles you’ll remember later.

Regardless of research and organization, you have to have fun. The best projects are on topics you are really interested and passionate about. Don’t get too bogged down by making everything perfect - enjoy it!

Until Next Time,