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6 Tips to Develop Killer-Research Skills for Poly and Uni Students

For polytechnic and university students these days, their assignments require them to conduct tons of research.

And when I mean tons, I really mean TONS.

If students don’t conduct their research properly, major consequences such as failing the module or having to re-module come along.

No student wants to face a situation of them wasting a year to relearn whatever they have learnt the previous semester.

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably a poly or uni student who’s having trouble doing research on your assignments, right?

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Well, you’re just in luck!

In this article, I’ll be giving some tips to develop killer-research skills for your poly or uni assignments.

Let’s go!

Tips on How to Conduct Research

Research is the key when it comes to scoring well for your projects, assignments, and exams.

There’s no right or wrong way to conduct research.

Only how effective you can conduct one.

With that said, let’s move on the 1st tip.

1. Be Specific About What You Want to Research

This is the most, most important tip, I can’t stress how important this is.

Why is this the most important?

Well, there seems to be an infinite amount of information readily available on the internet.

There’s also a vast amount of books available in Regional Libraries around Singapore.

With this huge amount of information around us, it can be very easy for you to get lost.

And when you’re lost during research, a lot of precious time will be wasted.

Furthermore, a lot of information is affiliated with what you’re researching about but doesn’t have much of a link.

For example, if you’re conducting research about Dogs as Pets, you’ll see that some of the links and related information will bring you to other animals such as Cats, Hamsters, Fishes, etc.

If you click on the other topics and lose focus on what your actual topic is, precious time will be wasted.

And time wasting is a huge no-no especially if you’re on a deadline.

Which is why it’s of paramount importance that you narrow down your research to what your topic is about!

2. Use The Internet To Your Advantage

At the current age of technology, it’s way easier to conduct research online than reading huge, thick books.

Furthermore, many students these days are very familiar with using search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc to search for answers to their burning questions.

Which makes it even easier to conduct your research if you’re tech-savvy.

Another advantage of researching online is that you can search for what you want and need specifically

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When you’ve found an article online, you also use the Control + F feature to further find the specific information you need, something you can’t do if you’re reading a book.

And here are some tips you might want to utilise if you’re searching for information online;

  • Not all search engines offer the same results, so you can use different search engines to find more information
  • Use the minus sign “-” to remove words that you don’t want, for example, if you’re searching for vegetarian recipes, type “recipes -meat”.
  • If you’re unsure on how to phrase a question, you can use the options given below the search bar after typing something.

3. Bookmark The Important Websites

As mentioned in point 1, there’s a huge amount of websites offering the information you need.

It can be very confusing when you open multi tabs of different websites as it’s very easy to lose focus and feel confused.

Which is why you should instantly bookmark a website that has all the relevant information that you need, to avoid losing track of it.

After all, we can’t fully rely on technology, you never know when your laptop is going to shut down automatically or crash.

So by bookmarking the important websites, you can ensure that you’ll never lose track of the crucial information that can help you score well for your assignments!

In the same vein, also remember to constantly save your work, so nothing gets lost if your laptop suddenly runs out of battery.

4. Use Only Trustworthy Sources

Most of the schools I know require their students to conduct their research and use the information only from trustworthy sources.

Many websites contain non-credible, opinionated information which your teachers might not favour.

Generally, for research done for school assignments, credible sources are ones which are unbiased and have evidence to back it up.

Here’s a checklist you can use to gauge the credibility of an article

  • Who is the intended audience? (students, researchers, professors, the general public?)
  • What is the purpose of the article? (to provide information on experiments, to persuade people, or provide up to date news of specific objects/events?)
  • Who are the authors? (Are they well-respected and known in their field of expertise? Have they written other articles on the same topic? What are their credentials?)
  • How reputable is the source? (is the article published on a non-biased website? Is it published in a scholarly journal?)
  • How current is the article (when was it published?)
  • Is there supporting documentation? (charts, illustrations, or graphs to support its claims?)

And here are some credible sources you can consider using

  • Academic Libraries
  • Sources of The American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Government Websites

And many students don’t know this but, try not to use sources from Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is considered to be an unreliable source as it can be edited by literally anyone at any time.

And occasionally, people will falsify information on Wikipedia to “Troll” readers.

Hence, you should never rely 100% on Wikipedia. It’s best to cross-check your information if you’re getting it from Wikipedia.

5. Cite Your Sources

When you conduct research, it’s very important to cite your sources if you want to avoid marks deducted due to plagiarism. 

Most schools view plagiarism as a very serious offence as it’s considered a violation when it comes to academic integrity.

And students who don’t cite their sources often fail their assignments.

Most schools require their students to cite their sources in APA format, which is a universally accepted citing method.

Click on this link to learn more about APA formatting.

6. Check for Plagiarism

As mentioned on the previous point, plagiarism is a serious offence and many students fail because of it.

And there’s actually more to plagiarism than most students know.

Here are the common types of Plagiarism

Direct Plagiarism (DP)

DP occurs when you copy someone’s work, word for word, without quotation marks to cite them.

Self Plagiarism (SP)

SP is something that many students are not aware of.

It occurs when you submit your work that has information from your previous work, without the permission from the professors involved.

For example, if you’ve written a similar article when you were in poly, you can’t use it for your uni assignment.

Mosaic Plagiarism (MP)

MP occurs when you use phrases from a source without quoting it, or when you change the words used but maintain the same structure and meaning of the original. 

To avoid this, paraphrase the sentence into a different structure but maintain the same meaning.

Accidental Plagiarism (AP)

AP occurs when you are too lazy to cite your sources.

In some ways, it’s very similar to MP where you might accidentally paraphrase a source while keeping the same structure and meaning as the original source.

Plagiarism Checkers

You can easily avoid these types of plagiarism by using plagiarism checkers available online, such as Quetext, SmallSeoTools, Grammarly, and many more!


Here you have it!

Here are some tips you can use to develop killer research skills.

I hope this article is able to help you cruise through your research assignments in poly or uni!

Here are some related articles you might like to read:

Does Homework Help Students in Singapore Learn Better?

5 Tips for Creating a Stress-Free Homework Routine


Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.