Research Tips and Tricks
Tips for getting started ... and getting finished!
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Get to Know Your Librarian
You can contact USQ librarians via email, chat, on the phone or in person. They are very approachable and can make your research journey a less bumpy one if you contact them when you have questions about finding information, setting up alerts, using EndNote, managing your research data, choosing where to publish, or myriad other questions!
Quick Start Techniques
It is usually not feasible to wait for an entire day in which you have nothing to do but write. In order to make the most of the time you have available, try using quick start techniques. For example, once you've finished a section or a paragraph, write the first sentence of the next one, or jot down clear notes about what you want to say next. That way, you'll be able to pick up right where you left off, instead of wasting time trying to remember what you were thinking about!
Keep a research journal. In it, you can record things like the terms you used to search a particular database, and when. You can record details of texts you need to find, or a technique you need to understand. You can make notes about what you are reading, and try to work through ideas. You can record the outcomes of your day's research, and reflect on what went well, and how you could improve for the next day. In The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron advocates beginning every day by free writing three pages in your journal - it can be whatever you want (not necessarily about research or your project). The aim is to pump out all the rubbish and preoccupations in your mind so that you can get to the good stuff - give it a try and let us know how it works for you!
Write Every Day
Yes - every single day (unless you have specifically scheduled a day off - that is a good idea too!). Not everything you write has to be, or will be, perfect. Don't worry about that. However, you do need to write this regularly in order for your work to get as close as it can be to being the best work you can produce. Train yourself. You wouldn't turn up to run a marathon without training, and nor do you expect that you can run your best time the first time you try. In the same way, you need to train your mind to concentrate and write extended pieces of work.
In Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks, Laura Wendy Belcher suggests writing for fifteen minutes per day. You might also try aiming for a word count - around 500 words per day is usually a good balance between making progress and not exhausting yourself (because you need to be able to do it again the next day!). 500 words per day is 182 500 words per year! Imagine how productive and prolific you can be if you're sticking to this!