Skip to main content


10 Steps for Effective Research

10 Steps to Effective Research

  1. Understand your assignment. Make a copy of the rubric/assignment and refer to it often. Ask your professor to explain anything that is unclear.
  2. Choose your topic wisely.  Pick a topic you’re interested in that is relevant to your Healthy People 2000 assignment  
  3. Schedule your research. Put deadlines on your calendar and make a to-do list. Give yourself credit for small tasks and cross them off your list. Research takes time – keep the workflow moving.
  4. Explore your options. Do background reading. Look at the Healthy People website. Books and others websites are also good. Study the terms authors use for your topic and list synonyms. Focus on an interesting, manageable aspect of your topic. Make sure you can find enough sources but not too broad. What would be the title of an ideal article on your topic? If you like, use a graphic organizer to jot down search terms.
  5. Use a variety of sources. Your Nursing 102 assignment tells you what kinds of sources to use. Books, websites are good for background reading. Scholarly journal articles explore very specific topics.
  6. Library databases. Used for in-depth research. Especially useful for finding peer-reviewed journal articles on a topic. Split your topic into 2-3 keywords/short phrases. Open a library database (CINAHL is a good one) and put one term in each search box, then [search]. Mark and save the best article from your results list. Save so you can find it later. Use the database [cite] button to format your references and copy to a Word document.
  7. Tackle one piece at a time. Know when you’ve spent enough time on one part, then move on. No, it won’t be perfect.
  8. Take good notes. Copy useful sources to an electronic folder (hard drive, Google drive, Zotero, for example) or a paper folder, if you prefer. Write sections and save to Word as you research so you don’t forget key points. Notice gaps in your research.
  9. Citation-citation-citation. Use your APA manual, APA Style, Purdue Owl to cite correctly. Include the doi if available – citing correctly makes your sources easy to find. If you do a lot of research, use a citation manager such as Zotero to store your sources in “folders” (optional).
  10. Ask for help. Ask your professor early to clarify the assignment. Ask your subject librarian for help identifying sources. Ask the Student Technology Centers/ITS Service Desk for software/hardware problems. The Writing Center can assist with grammar and writing style.

Then – turn it in. Congratulations


Healthy People 2020