This is the "Step 2: Do the Background Research" page of the "Scientific Method" guide.
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Scientific Method   Tags: research, scientific_method  

The research method most often used in scientific experimentation.
Last Updated: Sep 19, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Step 2: Do the Background Research Print Page

How to do Background Research

Background Research

Step 2: Do the Background Research

Research the problem using quality sources. Ask questions and read everything you can about the problem you have chosen.  Study the method of measurement you will use to quantify your observations if it is one you are not familiar with.

This is the beginning of the documention you will be doing for your experiment. Write everything down! Keep a log of the sites you've visited and jot down what you found on them. Your question may change as you research, and something that you didn't think you could use in the beginning may become very important to your investigation in the end. It is often difficult to find some of those sites again. But if you've kept track of your web wanderings, it will be a simple thing to get your hands on that gold nugget of information once more.

An easy way to keep a website log is to open a word document and start a list. Copy and paste the URL of each site you visit, with a very brief note on what you found there.

If you are doing the research on a private computer, you could bookmark each URL instead, renaming it to help you remember what was on it.

Or, take a screenshots of what you've found and pepper your desktop with them. Organize these into folders, then move them into "My Documents" when you've finished.


    What kind of source is it?

    Use an accurate and reliable source for your information.

    Ask yourself:

    1. Who publishes this site? What are their credentials?

    2. How long ago was this site published? Is their research too old, or is it still valid?

    3. Does this information have any new or better information to tell me about my question? (Is it relevant to my problem?

    • Is the source valid?
      How to validate your research sources from EHow
    • Use valid, credible sources
      from the University of Maine at Farmington comes a guide on questions to ask yourself about the source you are using. Includes links for plagiarism, giving credit, and copyright

    Special Things to Consider When Asking your Question


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