Lifehack: “10 Steps Toward Better Research”


Dustin Wax over at has posted a follow up article to his original post on how to make your research papers more spiffy. That original post received some flak for some questionable tips, but Dustin’s new post on research tips is all gold.

Here, as always, is the executive summary of “10 Steps Towards Better Research”:

  • Schedule in time, and allocate mini-deadlines to different parts of your assignment.
  • Wikipedia is a good diving board for preliminary research, but you need to expand into more proven sources, like scholarly journals, for the main evidence argued in your paper.
  • Find a paper or journal article that has some great bits of info you can use, then mine its bibliography to get more leads on related sources.
  • Always have the research question you are trying to answer in mind when looking for evidence.
  • Deal with one part of your paper at a time to promote a sound, logical argument.
  • Come up with a system to organize your ideas, research, and such. I have always used file folders, but a few companies have pumped out software that act as virtual file folders for all of your Pdfs and such. Examples: OmniOutliner, DEVONthink.
  • “Know Your Resources.”
  • Use all the help that is available to you. The post suggests talking to your Librarians, and I agree.
  • “Carry and idea book.” I just started a Moleskine journal to jot down things that I come across on daily basis. I would recommend, though, that you keep separate books for school research and your personal musings.
  • “Bring it up to date.” I guess what Wax means by this is that make sure all of your sources are up to date and haven’t been disputed by recent studies.

“10 Steps Toward Better Research” at


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