Research skills

Your presentation will require a certain amount of research to be completed before you present your chosen topic. Research skills are important and can be used to help you prepare and revise for other exams but only if you approach them in the right way. The following lists 'Things to do' and 'Things not to do' will help you approach your research in a productive way.

Things to do

  1. Make sure you are fully equipped before you begin your research - you will need a notepad, pen and highlighters.
  2. Before you begin your research, make sure you are certain which topic you are going to be covering in your presentation. You don't want to spend hours researching one topic, only to change your mind later.
  3. Make headings under which you write your notes. This will help you to remain organised and save time when you begin to write your presentation. If your chosen topic was 'The Olympics', you might make headings like 'different sports', 'locations around the world', or 'history'.
  4. You could use a library and/or the internet for your research. If you are using the internet, make sure you check several different sites to check information is correct. Remember that some internet information is not verified.
  5. If you make your notes on a PC or laptop make sure you save your work regularly.
  6. Your research should be an activity where you remain fully engaged and alert, not simply one where you endlessly make notes without thinking about what you write. Consider carefully what you read and only make notes on the facts that you think are important.
  7. Make a note of where your information came from, such as the web address or book title, just in case you need to go back and check something at a later date.
Illustrations of things to do as research for an individual oral presentation: Preperation; Choose topic; Headings; Save work; Important facts; Reference.

Things not to do

  1. Don’t simply print off huge amounts of information from the internet and convince yourself that you have completed lots of research. It is important to read the information carefully and only use the details that you think are relevant to your presentation.
  2. Don’t just photocopy pages or copy facts down from a book either. It's more productive to also highlight the passages that will help you and create your own notes from these. You must have a clear idea of what you are looking for before you begin your research.
  3. Be careful about which internet sites you use. Some are written by students as projects and they might not be completely accurate. Try to use trusted ones or ones hosted by well-known providers.