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Independent Research

There are many factors to consider as you plan your independent research project. You’ll spend a lot of time planning, reading, thinking, and discussing. Use the ideas listed below to help you plan your project’s details before you even begin.

You can also petition for your independent research to be considered for course credit. Learn more about petitioning for credit.

Steps for Conducting Independent Research 

Construct Your Research Question

You have a phenomenal, new idea for an independent research topic. Spend time formulating your research question so you can begin the planning process for your project. Identify your goals and objectives.

Draft a Research Plan and Budget

Identify what resources you plan to use as you and make a calendar to organize your time before you start your experiment. Log time for obtaining the research sources that you need, following up on interesting findings, and analyzing your findings. If there are expenses associated with your project, track those as well. There are important dates for potential funding opportunities and Undergraduate Research events that are worth including as well.

Find Background Information

Look up your keywords in the Tulane Libraries catalog of books and databases or check Internet search engines. Depending on your topic, you may be able to find information in your lecture notes, textbooks, and other classroom readings.

Gather More Information

Go even further with your research. By now, you are working from the general to the specific. Schedule a Research Appointment with Tulane Library’s subject librarians. Or, consult a Tulane faculty member within the field you are studying. Scan the bibliographies from your foundational research for additional sources..

Evaluate Your Sources and Make Notes

Evaluate the articles, books, journals, and websites you are using. Establish the credibility of your source by looking at its authorship, publisher and point-of-view, subject expertise, and currency of information. Make notes of what information may be useful to your specific project.

Write, Cite, and Review Your Work

Organize your information and make sure you include the proper citations and writing format to create a first draft. Then, have multiple people review your work for feedback. Consider reaching out to an Academic Learning & Tutoring Center writing tutor, a peer, or trusted staff member.

Share Your Research

Publish your work within your department; present your findings at a research event on campus or an outside conference event; tell your friends and family. You deserve to celebrate your hard work. Newcomb-Tulane College also published an annual peer-reviewed journal.

Learn More About the Tulane Undergraduate Research Journal