7 Lessons Learned with First Formal Research Project

I really enjoy listening to speakers at GHC–unfortunately, I also get inspired by them.

Unfortunately because I find I am constantly writing down which have only a tangential relationship to the speaker’s topic. This list is one of those inspired writings–I jotted it down while listening to the awesome talk by Fran Allen.

Lessons Learned with First Formal Research Project (in no particular order):

  1. Finish earlyThis allows ideas and designs to stew. There is also something to be said for the power of last-minute adrenalin-panic for increasing productivity.
  2. Annotate the bibliography.My bibliography for my Combating Plagiarism poster was about 6 pages long and I found NoodleBib‘s annotation box indispensable in keeping track of sources. Noodlebib is a free citation help guide which has forms for citing different sources and maintains working bibliographies.
  3. Talk about the project.I learned nearly as much about the implications for my project in last night’s poster session that I had in weeks of reading articles. I found learn well by engaging in dialog and debate with others about issues I care about.
  4. Create a list of resources as part of the initial research process.I found myself going back again and again to the Chronicle for Higher Education, and the webpages for different institutions’ plagiarism policies. The ones I didn’t bother to site early I found myself searching for again and again.
  5. Contact human resources early.Turn around time for email replies to my research queries ranged from a day to two months. Beginning early saves stress.
  6. After half of the basic research is done, look for a really good summary of the field to reorient yourself.More broadly, make sure to take a breath and get perspective on your project and goals.
  7. Most Importantly:

    It is ok to say “I don’t know”. I found this realization so liberating. In writing papers, in most debates, certainly in many classes, it is never ok to say “I don’t know”. But I found articulation to myself what information I was missing helped me stay on track and discover new paths for research.

I really enjoyed my research project and am planning on applying for funding to research how YouTube and Podcasting can be used as educational resources. Wish me luck!

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