4.1 Creating a research plan

Before commencing, plan your research by writing a Research Plan. This will ensure you:

  • understand your essay question/topic
  • identify the key terms and other related terms that might help you locate more information relevant to your topic, and
  • have authoritative and relevant information

Issues to consider when planning your research include:

Analysing the question

  • Style of assignment - Are you required to write an essay, a policy or lab report, a personal response, a critical review, an analysis of a reading, a media article or script, a book review, based on primary sources?
  • Length of assignment - This will help you think about how many references you might need to find when researching.
  • Key concepts - Pick out the key concepts that you need to research and make sure you fully understand what the question is asking. If in doubt, contact your lecturer or tutor.

Currency of material

  • Do you require only recently published research or do you need to have a comprehensive range of references that include all dates?

Types of references required

  • Do you need books, journal articles, newspaper articles, government reports, diaries, manuscripts, music scores, blogs, glossy magazines?
  • If scholarly material is required, has it been peer reviewed or refereed? (This is discussed further in the module Scholarly material, reference styles and academic honesty.)