How can I become better at research? It is a matter of time and experience that makes you better at research. In research we learn from our mistakes and several experienced scientists accept that they made a lot of mistakes in the past. These mistakes help them grow and learn more about their study. There are some general tips that will help you become better at research.
Think before you act
Do a lot of brainstorming before you reach out to the final research question and research problem. Also ask yourself lot of questions to check the suitability of your study question. Take your time and do not rush in deciding about the final study topic. This will help you in carrying out your research later. Once you are sure about your study question you can go forward to carry on the study. Especially, for a novice researcher it is particularly important because you can get tempted to study on a topic that is fancy and current. But if you look at it closely it will not be as researchable for you as you thought.
This also is very important that you formulate a very specific research question. Research takes time and it may needs a lot of other resources. So better think about all the resources that you will need to conduct this study. A general research question will require you to look in so many directions and you will lose sight and direction. As well as you will need a lot of time and other resources and in the end everything will mess up. Your question/problem, and hypothesis are some of the most important part of your paper. Some new researcher do not understand the importance of it. You may select topic that has a lot of dimensions but to handle such topic you need to work in several directions. Only a genius researcher can handle such topic. On the other hand, if you are not successful the result will yield no benefits. Specific study topics are easy to delve deep and yield great insight.
Review, review, and review
In every step of your study read and review a lot of relevant literature. Specially, before you begin your study read a lot of relevant literature so that you become acquainted with your topic. This will help you understand the type of studies other researchers have done on this topic. Also it will help you know the loopholes in knowledge and in what direction you can take your topic. Finally, you will know the requirements and you can narrow down your study topic. And you will develop a research topic that is significant for the society in one way or other.
Whenever you are stuck or not sure go and seek help from an expert. This is really important because otherwise you may make a mistake that is irrevocable later when you are in the next phase of your research. Research advisors, supervisors, statisticians, your teachers etc are your resources that you should use as much as possible. Not sure whether you are going in the right direction or not stop there and seek help. Better not move to the next step of research when you have any confusion about the current progress.
You need to work on your research project in an organized manner. For example, do not move to another step until you are done with the previous one. Make a layout or plan of how do you want to take on your research. But remain flexible with your plan as a lot of times we learn as we go on that some tasks may need more time or some task may need to be done first. But this does not mean that you can carry out your research without proper plan you definitely need a good plan. You also need to execute this plan in an organized way but brace yourself for any change in your plan according to the requirements.
Write and record
Write and record each and every information from your research experiments, observation, brainstorming, literature review etc. Keep it safe online or offline on a notebook whatever suits you. If you prefer online make at least one more copy so you do not lose it. Write all the references for your reviews so that you can easily write them in your research later.
In the end
Research is constant learning and each time you carry our a research you may face different problems. There might be problems that you never faced before and you solve it and learn something new. You should not get afraid of these hurdles rather these hurdles will make you become better at research.