To engage in research it helps to be clear what it is you want to research and why. Before engaging in research it is worthwhile to take time to establish or define the boundaries of your area of investigation. Once you have established your area of research you need to have strategies that enable you to find relevant information. If you are looking for specific information as part of your research it is a good idea to write down questions to help direct your research and make your reading more active. Once you have identified the sources that are most relevant to your line of inquiry you will need to evaluate how useful they are, through analysis of the writer’s approach or method, critically engaging with the ideas being discussed, and creating notes to document this process. Making effective notes and managing them will involve developing organisational strategies and a plan to ensure that you make best use of your time, and enable you to revisit your research at a later date. Your notes will ensure that you can be sure where your ideas originated. It is important to make notes that will enable you to cite or reference in an appropriate format to allow you to revisit sources at a later date, or to reference in academic writing.
(The model of define-find-evaluate-cite is taken from GSA Library’s InfoSMART resource).
In order to develop and build on our visual research and ideas we make use of sketchbooks, blogs and journals in the studio, and these methods of recording information are clearly an essential part of the creative process. It is equally important that you develop a strategy to record your ongoing research from reading. There are different ways of recording research information, but whether you use a blog, journal or filing system consider the following research log template to build an effective record of the source you have engaged with.
Research Log Template
|Place Publisher Year|
|What kind of book/website/source is this?|
|Why did I read this ?|
|What did I find out from it?|
|What would you gain from reading this?|