After having chosen your topic to write on, you need to gather information about the topic so as to broaden the scope of your writing and to improve its quality. This process is known as research, which plays a key role in writing, whether it is professional, academic, fiction or non-fiction writing. Research in writing includes reading more around the topic, taking notes, assessing its relevance for your purpose, and finally, integrating it within your text. The role of research in writing is best explained by Mark Twain: “First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure.”

Moreover, research can be divided into primary and secondary research, depending on the sources used to gather information. Primary research includes direct observations, preparing questionnaires and interviewing, undertaking fieldworks, and conducting experiments to gather analytical and descriptive information. Whereas, secondary research includes printed and electronically transmitted reading materials to search for historical backgrounds, different points of view on an issue, and theoretical perspectives on the topic.

Proper research before writing not only authenticates your writing but also helps to make your writing unique and interesting to read.

Tips for taking good class notes

  • Summarize your notes in your own words, not the instructors. Remember: your goal is to understand what the professor is saying, not to try to record, exactly, everything he or she says.
  • Mark ideas which the lecturer emphasizes with an arrow or some special symbol.
  • When the teacher looks at his/her notes, pay attention to what they say next.
  • Make your notes your notes. Take advantage of how you learn (visually, orally, or actively) and write/draw your notes according to that style.
  • Consider splitting your notes into two columns keep lecture notes on one side, and write questions that come up during the lecture on the other side. This will ensure that you don’t forget any unclear points or questions that come up during the lecture, and will enable you to associate the answer with the relevant material when you find it later. Also, if you go to office hours, your professor will notice that you were paying attention in class, which will pay off in the long run.
  • Copy what’s written on the blackboard and transparencies, especially the outline. To make sure that you get everything, get in the habit of skipping words like the and a and make use of shorthand and abbreviations.