Author Archives: Steve Aedy

How to Write an Essay About Yourself

a guy is writing an essay sitting next to his laptop

When a student faces the need to write an essay about themselves, at first, it seems like an easy task. However, you might find that this is pretty challenging once you start writing. What should you write about? What information is the best for this type of essay and what should you omit? How do you structure a personal essay? These are the questions that we will answer with the following article, so keep reading to learn how to create a perfect essay about yourself.

Structure of a Personal Essay

Let’s start with the basics – the structure of a personal essay. You probably know what the general structure of a basic essay is: introduction, the body of an essay, and the conclusion. But does this template work for a personal essay too?

Basically, yes. The structure is the same and will require a great hook for the start, interesting content, and a great ending to leave a reader impressed. Remember that a personal essay is a written piece that you should create in an honest and even a little vulnerable manner.

What to Write About

There might be some particular question that should answer with your essay or some kind of prompt or even complete freedom for you to choose what to write about. Anyway, you will have to make this piece personal and creative. It’s not about bragging or telling some secrets of yours. Just share a story that describes you and creates a good impression, especially if you are writing a scholarship essay.

Take a question that your essay should answer and brainstorm what smaller questions might be related to it. For example, if you are asked to tell about your ability and experience in overcoming obstacles, you can write about:

  1. Examples of obstacles from your childhood.
  2. Your motivation and experience in facing difficulties.
  3. Role models in your life who taught you some valuable lessons.
  4. Your goals and small victories that inspired you to move forward.

Write down all the ideas and thoughts that an essay question brings in you. Look at them and try to create a small outline, assigning each of the ideas a place within a written piece. Once you know what you will write about, you can start thinking about a great hook for an essay.

What Is an Appropriate Hook for a Personal Essay

When talking about written assignments in general, it’s often said that a great hook for your essay is worth half of a grade. Is it true? Hard to say because every professor and teacher is different, so their methods of grading are different too. But what is true is that a hook is important to grab the attention of your reader and create the right mood.

It’s a great tip to start an essay with a quote. There are a lot of great and uncliched quotes that you can find online to use for your personal essay or any other type of essay. Find the one that fits your story and use it as an introducing sentence.

Another way to start a personal essay is to start it with a question or a claim. For example, you can ask some rhetorical questions, for example, “What is a life without moving forward and overcoming obstacles?” Read about other great tips on how to start an essay with a hook in our blog post.

What You Should Focus Your Essay On

So, you start writing your essay and don’t really know what you should put in it. Here are a few tips on what you should focus the content of your essay on:

  1. A good story from your life that matches the prompt and has some morals or significance for you is a great basis for your personal essay.
  2. You need to add some details to make the story more personal. A few descriptions of appearances, weather, or interior will make the story more vivid and alive.
  3. Think of the goal that you want to achieve with your story. Should it be light and funny or tell the reader something about your inner struggles and self-development? It all depends on the task that you are given and the general mood of your essay.
  4. Make your story captivating. You have to catch the attention of your readers.
  5. Choose a topic that you are not embarrassed about. Trying to write about something that makes you feel too uncomfortable will damage the quality of your work and will badly affect not only your grade but also your mental state.
  6. Choose a story that shows your good traits and shows you in a positive light.
  7. Add some information that introduces your personality and shows your uniqueness.
  8. Keep your dynamic and avoid being too general. Focus on some particular events and circumstances that built you the way you are.
  9. Don’t be afraid to talk about complex topics that have some depth in them.
  10. Don’t try to cover many issues – it’s better to focus on one particular topic.

Overall, when writing an essay about yourself, it’s important to keep it honest and dynamic. The story that you tell with your essay should show your readers how you grow and develop, overcoming obstacles and improving your skills. When talking about your life experience, find something that you are proud to tell about.

If you struggle with your personal essay, feel free to contact us, and request assistance in writing an essay about yourself. We know how to put your thoughts on paper so that your written piece has a beautiful, logical flow and follows all the requirements of your learning institution. Good luck with your personal essay!

5 Steps to a Strong Discussion Section

a woman typing on her laptop

We all know that writing an academic paper, especially one like a thesis or coursework, isn’t easy. But when it comes to naming one particular chapter that requires maximum effort, the majority of students would say that it is the discussion section. But why? First of all, it happens due to the specifics of this part – it has to make an argument, prove your point, show the supporting evidence, and explain the importance and the meaning of the results of your work. Pretty challenging, right? Let’s find out how you can avoid making common mistakes to create a strong discussion part.

Step 1. Remind the Audience of the Importance of Your Work

Any academic work should have something new to bring to the field of the study, as this is an actual aim of the research that you are working on. That’s why it’s crucial to provide an understanding of the significance that your paper brings and how it can help the field.

The discussion section is one of the chapters that should contain such information and answer the following questions:

  1. Why is your work significant?
  2. What does it add to the field?
  3. Why is it important to answer the question discussed in your work?

Your reader might not even know why you chose the particular problem that you address with your work. Try to provide an understanding of how answering the main question of your work helps move the study forward. You need to prove that your work has significance, but avoid overreacting. Don’t try to make your paper look like a breakthrough in the field that no one has ever seen yet.

Step 2. Provide the Analysis of Your Findings

Through your work, you were able to conduct your research, dive into the field of the study, and discover some great findings. Your discussion section is the place where you should analyze those findings and provide your interpretation.

You might focus this section on:

  1. Analyzing the correlation and patterns discovered.
  2. Explanation of the context of your results.
  3. Discussing if the results met your expectations and hypotheses or not.
  4. Discussing possible variations.

It all depends on the topic and the field of your research. But typically, the discussion part should make the reader understand the given data in its context and the meaning behind those results. Approach your discussion section in a way that will leave no place for any kind of uncertainty about the answer to your study’s main question.

Step 3. Show How it Fits into Study

While working on your discussion section, you need to show how the results of your research relate to the other studies. For example, the ones that you were using through your literature review.

How can you do this? You just need to follow the pattern where you answer the following questions:

  1. How does my work fit into the field? What is the connection with other works?
  2. Does my work consider existing theories? Does it confirm them?
  3. Do my work’s results agree with the results of other studies? What do they add to the field?
  4. If my work’s results don’t match, what might be the reason behind it?

Compare your results to the results that you have found through your research. Analyze if they agree or disagree with each other. You can highlight particular chapters and studies that were the most crucial for your research and which support your claims.

Step 4. Discuss the Limitations

The limitations are not always included in the discussion section as some learning institutions require putting them as well as the suggestion part into your conclusion. However, if you are about to discuss the limitations and weaknesses of your work in your discussion, you should use our easy tips:

  1. Explain the reason behind the limitations and weaknesses of your work. Could they exist due to the research method that you picked or some obstacles and unexpected circumstances that appeared in the process?
  2. Discuss the limitations without trying to mask them or hide them behind the strengths of your work – every research has its limitations, even a perfect one. You should stay unbiased when talking about them.
  3. Describe the problems that you faced in the process of your research and analyze your mistakes.

If the limitations affected the results and their generalizability or reliability, you should address this problem so that your work can stay credible.

Step 5. Come Up with Recommendations

Based on your work as a whole and your discussion section, in particular, it’s crucial to suggest your recommendations for further research. They might concentrate on avoiding the mistakes that you have made (based on the limitations) or on the steps that need to be taken further to fill in other gaps in the study.

You should provide particular ideas for future work and how these ideas will help the field.

Additional Tips

Here are some extra tips from us on how to work on your discussion section without struggling:

  1. Make sure you don’t ruin the credibility of your work with your limitations section. Remember that it should provide useful experiences and lessons learned, not undermine your whole research.
  2. Don’t provide any new data in your discussion, and don’t restate your results.
  3. Be brief and to the point. Check out our other tips on how you can improve your academic writing skills.
  4. Don’t be apologetic when discussing your limitations.
  5. Make sure you give proper attention to minor findings as well as major ones.
  6. Avoid making any conclusions and claims that aren’t supported by the evidence.

This is all for your discussion section. We hope that you find our tips useful when working on your academic paper. And if you need some help with it, you can request assistance from our professional team. We will be glad to help you with your studies. Good luck!

Tips on Handling Group Projects

a group of students work together

If working on a study project in a group isn’t your cup of coffee, it’s totally fine. The majority of students prefer working by themselves as they are afraid of getting a low grade because of someone’s irresponsibility and mistakes. However, working in a group is a great way to boost your communication and delegation skills as well as teach you teamwork and organization. That’s why schools over the world implement group projects into their study programs and always will.

So, are there any ways you can make this project really work? We believe there are. And this article will provide you with the most effective tips on how to handle your group projects. By the way, these tips will definitely come in handy in the future, as you will likely face group projects throughout your career. So, let’s get started.

Establish Great Communication

Nothing can work in a group if there is not enough communication between its members. When you work on a project together, it’s essential to communicate at every step, give your feedback, and cooperate.

For example, before you even start, you should clarify and discuss the goals of your group, the part that each one of you will take and the requirements or rules that you will follow throughout the project. Every person in the group should know what is expected from them and when. Some people are less responsible and are easily distracted, so discussing the deadlines is one of the most important things, so that you can avoid missing the project deadline because of one of the members of your group.

If you feel that there is a need to make one of you a team leader who will control the process, you should definitely do so. Not many students like that approach, but when it comes to teamwork, a leader can make a difference in the process of organization and communication. This person might be responsible for the revision of the work, assistance in the research or writing process, keeping the group organized, and delegating the duties.

Share Everything You Find

When discussing the rules that you are going to stick to in the process with your teammates, talk about the rule of sharing. That means that everything that you find, e.g., sources, materials, useful links, diagrams, and data, should be shared with everyone in the group.

If you work in some kind of a team chat, or a shared file or folder, you can just put everything that you find in there, so everyone can use the same sources and save their time and effort. This way, your work will be much more effective. This will also help you avoid misunderstanding or conflicts in the group as every person will have access to the same materials as everyone else.

Set the Timeline

As mentioned earlier, discussing your deadlines is essential. But when you work on a longer project, it’s much more effective to break the project into smaller steps and tasks and set the deadlines for each of them.

This is how you establish a timeline, where you can see the progress of the project as a whole and each of the members in particular. Your team leader can track the tasks that are already finished so that they can be revised and polished if needed. You can also easily track if some of the members of your group miss their deadlines and put the team down. It’s better to know about while the work is still in the process than just right before the due date.

Brainstorm Ideas in a Team

What is the main advantage of working in a group compared to working on a project by yourself? The opportunity to produce more ideas and solutions. Brainstorming ideas in a team is much more effective, and there is a higher possibility that someone will come up with just a great idea on how to approach a problem. In this case, you will be able to take the right approach and get a higher grade.

Additional Tips

Here are a few other quick tips that you might find useful:

  1. Schedule regular meetups. Even if you can’t meet in person to discuss all the details, you can regularly meet in a group chat, have conference calls, etc. This way, you can make sure that everything goes according to schedule, and everyone knows what they need to do and how they should do it. By the way, check out our tips on how to handle your online classes better.
  2. Respect the opinions of each of the team members. Every member should feel free to voice their ideas and problems.
  3. Stay firm when it comes to deadlines but avoid starting conflicts. When the work needs to be done on time, there should be a maximum effort in a team and minimum excuses. However, starting an argument isn’t the way to make it work. If you need some help with your group project or any of your assignments, you can turn to our team at any time.

These were the best tips from us on how to organize group study projects, and how to make them work. We hope that you found these tips useful. Good luck with your studies and your teamwork!

6 Great Tips for Succeeding in Online Classes

a guy is sitting in front of his laptop

More people than ever are enrolling in distance learning and online classes. The number of students who are taking classes at home – either as a supplement to academic work they are doing or as their primary means of obtaining a degree – has been increasing significantly over the past several years.

If you’re currently enrolled in online classes, here are six great tips to help you succeed and make the most of your opportunity.

1. Get Tech Savvy

Before you begin your online education, you need to ensure you have all of the techs you need in place, and that you know how to use it. Find out what the hardware requirements are for your online courses; once you do, you should also verify that your computer and all of your mobile devices are compatible with it. If you don’t have high-speed internet at your home, find somewhere that does. You should also find out if you need any specific software for the course, then purchase and install it. Finally, once everything is in place, you should do a “test run” on your online curriculum platform, so you are comfortable with all of your software tools.

2. Be Disciplined

Maintaining focus and motivation is absolutely critical for success in online education. Unlike traditional classes, you won’t have the benefit of working alongside fellow students, or physical access to teachers or professors to assist you. You will have to develop and maintain an academic structure on your own to ensure you have what you need to succeed. One of the best ways to do this is to live your life like you actually are attending classes. Wake up on schedule and get dressed as if you are going to a physical classroom with a professor and other students. Try to go to a venue such as a library to do your homework. Maintain a work and life schedule like a student who is attending school would do (see more below). Little actions like these can help you maintain your personal discipline and give you the structure you need to succeed in your online curriculum.

3. Stay Organized

When it comes to online classes,  staying organized is even more important than in traditional study programs. Most online students do the bulk of their virtual attendance and homework at home. So, make sure you have a tidy, organized workspace in your office or room to help you stay organized while studying; don’t just sprawl out on the dining room table with your laptop and all your papers, or you might lose important information. Have a good system for keeping all of your class materials, whether they’re papers or files, organized in your home and on your computer. If you travel to a different location for classwork, such as a library, make sure you have a briefcase or backpack loaded with everything you need to accomplish your classwork, too.

4. Have a Study Plan

Since online coursework is often more self-directed than standard classes, having a good study plan is critical. You’ll need to ensure that you attend any online seminars according to a set schedule, and will also have to program time to study and do homework. Many students use written planners or calendar books to track when their online classes are and to program time to do work outside of class. Additionally, there are many great apps and programs, such as Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook, that you can use to develop and track your study plan. It doesn’t matter how you do it – managing your time will be critical to your success in online classes.

5. Avoid distractions

In order to maintain discipline in your online classes, you will have to be adept at avoiding distractions. If you are attending class virtually, nearly everything around you can distract you from learning, and make it difficult to succeed in class. Your smartphone, social media, and other people in your home or apartment can become major impediments to maintaining the appropriate level of focus on your online coursework.

If you find the outside world intruding on your studies, there are several things you can do to regain your focus:

  • There are apps that block your phone for a period of time set by the timer. You won’t be able to use your social media or text until the timer goes off. Apps like Flipd, Stay on Task, Offtime,  are great choices for this, although you can find many others that do the same thing.
  • Switching your phone or mobile devices to airplane mode will keep those distracting messages from popping up while you are trying to study.
  • Moving mobile devices to another room or turning mobile them off altogether while studying can keep you focused.
  • Retreating to a quiet room in your home, or another location altogether can help prevent interruptions from your family, roommates, or friends.
  • Never attend online classes or do your reading and homework with a TV on.

6. Ask Questions

When you’re attending online classes, don’t forget that you are still actually in class; if you don’t understand a concept or other course material, don’t be afraid to raise your hand (virtually)! Find out what the professor’s or teacher’s protocol is for asking questions when the online class begins, and then use it whenever you don’t understand something. In some cases, the online course software may have a built-in function for “raising your hand,” indicating you have a question; in other cases, you may have to send a chat message to get the instructor’s attention. If all else fails, ensure you follow up with your instructor via email. Don’t let the online class system keep you from learning what you need to know.

Parting Thoughts: You Can Succeed in Online Classes!

Participating in online classes is a great way to get an education or critical skills needed in the world today. However, online education is quite different than traditional learning institutions and can present many unique challenges to students. So, take the tips offered here into consideration and apply them as you begin your online curriculum.  And if you struggle a lot with your assignments, you can turn to our team. Doing so will help you put your best foot forward as you set off to accomplish important academic goals. Best of luck as you begin your online studies!

5 Best Memory Techniques for Your Study Sessions

a guy looking at his notes

Many students face difficulties with their studies due to a lack of good memory. It’s still an open question if the education system itself is perfect in terms of judging every student equally, based on their knowledge and, thus, often good memorization skills. As all we know, intellect can’t always help during your test if you just can’t remember what that paragraph you were reading yesterday was about. Of course, it’s not an excuse, but it’s still a pretty bad situation to be in.

You might spend a lot of time reading your notes and textbooks like a real hard-working student but end up sitting on the exam with no good thought in your head. Does it sound familiar? Are you tired of rereading the notes after the exam and thinking, “I’ve read this, why couldn’t I remember it?” over and over again? That is a pretty common problem, actually. There are, of course, some students who have kind of photographic memory, but if you are reading this post, chances are you are not one of them.

Though our professional team can help you manage your assignments, studying for the finals is still on you. So, if you want to improve your memory and try out some hacks on how to memorize the material better, keep reading this article.

Read Aloud

Reading aloud is the first thing that comes to mind when talking about memory techniques. It might seem banal, but it is, in fact, pretty useful. Try to read a paragraph or two aloud. It will definitely take more time than usual, but it is worth it. Be sure to focus on the content of the text. You will see that it is much easier to understand and memorize. Take your time while reading – give your brain some time to perceive, understand, and organize information rather than racing through your text.

Repeat

It’s easier to learn when you have an opportunity to repeat the material either by reading or listening to it more than once. Read the material multiple times or, if you don’t have much time, reread the key points. By the way, we have some awesome tips for you on how to spend less time on homework.

Read Again in the Morning

The majority of students have their study sessions in the evening, many even pulling all-nighters. If you study in the evening (especially late in the evening) too, go to bed when you’re finished but look through the material one more time in the morning.

Make Notes or Doodle

It’s scientifically proved that writing down the key points or quick summaries of what you have just read makes it much easier and effective for your brain to understand and remember information. So, take this as a rule – write a little summary after reading a chapter or two.

Doodling is also very effective when it comes to remembering information. Once you need to remember something, draw a little doodle in your notebook. Associate the drawing with the material, maybe draw a little illustration of the phenomena or the fact that you need to remember. Reading or listening to the information isn’t enough, especially for the visual learners, so try these techniques the next time during your study session or even during your class.

Build Your Palace

A memory palace is a concept that implies organizing your memories using visualization and imagination. It is a pretty cool and useful technique that, if mastered, can provide you with amazing results. So, how do you do it?

Close your eyes and think about the place that you visited and remember vividly. It might be your room or your favorite café. The important thing is to be able to visualize the interior in detail. This is your mind palace. Then give the information that you need to remember a visual form. It might be anything that you would like, from a piece of paper with written information to a big apple that you associate with the info. Place this item in your palace – put it in the drawer or on the table, or even hang it on the wall.

Now, you will be able to come back to your palace when you need it and find the information that you are seeking.

Use Mnemonics

Mnemonics are used when a person needs to remember some core concepts, lists, or sequences. You have probably learned a few in the elementary school, like “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November…” or “ROY G. BIV.” Now, you can create your mnemonics whenever you need to remember, for example, a list of bacterial endocarditis signs:

FROM JANE: Fever – Roth’s spots – Osler’s nodes – Murmur – Janeway lesions – Anemia – Nail hemorrhages – Emboli

You can use mnemonics for almost anything that you need to remember. Create ones that will stick on your mind for a long time – something funny will do the best. Also, check out our article on how to make your writing fun.

Use the Power of Your Senses

When it comes to remembering something, your five senses are there to help you. You might have already been in a situation when a smell brings some old memories back, and they become very real and vivid. You can use this for your studies as well.

For example, many articles and studies confirm that if chewing the gum during your study sessions and then chewing it during the exam, it will make remembering the information much easier.

You might also try it with different scents – for example, the smell of your favorite perfume or some kind of specific smell – some particular flower you smell while studying, fruit, or even such scents as a brand-new paper or an eraser.

Wrapping Up

It’s always frustrating when you can’t remember the particular chemical formula or a historical date when writing an exam. Develop your skills, keep your mind sharp, and use the techniques from our article to get prepared for your next exam. Good luck!

Reflective Writing: A Complete Guide

a guy is sitting on a couch and writing something in a notebook

If it is the first time that you’ve faced reflective writing, then it’s obvious why you came here for some advice. Reflective writing can be tricky and complicated, especially because not every student understands why they need to complete such a task and how to do it properly. So, let’s find out.

What Is It?

Reflective writing is a process of analyzing, evaluating, and reflecting on various experiences. It is commonly assigned in order to teach students how to get to the core of the problem or question, improve critical thinking, and analyze your assumptions, beliefs, and values. 

There are many forms that reflective writing can be performed in, particularly:

  • Blog
  • Journal
  • Diary (essay diary and learning diary)
  • Note
  • Review
  • Self-assessment

Each of these forms may become an assignment for a student. For example, many literature and writing programs involve writing a blog or review. It might be a warm-up exercise or a way to learn creative writing.

The main specific of the process of reflecting writing is its structure. When writing reflectively, it’s crucial to avoid falling into details of what happened and where and instead concentrate on your reflection and reaction. However, it’s also wrong to pour your thoughts out uncontrollably. You should show not only your writing skills but your ability to analyze and put the information together, summarizing your experience. So, a piece of reflective writing has a skeleton – the main line of the piece, which is supported with evidence and has some sort of direction that it is elaborated in.

So, how can you create a piece of reflective writing if assigned and avoid making common mistakes? Here are a few tips from us. 

Focus on the Key Elements

When working on a piece of reflective writing, it’s important to understand its key features. 

So, what are the main components of reflective writing? No matter what form you have chosen or were assigned, your work will consist of the following elements:

  1. The event, experience, or phenomenon that you’re reflecting on with the description of what has happened and how.
  2. The analysis of the event and your reflection – how it made you feel, what the reasons were behind your reaction, etc.
  3. The outcomes – what the lesson was and what you should do if this event occurs again.

So, you can see that the structure of the piece of reflective writing is pretty much similar to the structure of an ordinary essay with the introduction, main body, and conclusion. The same structure is kept when you are reflecting on your learning. If you need some advice on writing other types of essays, for example, an exemplification essay, read our other blog posts.

Start with an Outline

Before you start working on your piece, start with a quick outline. A good and thoughtful outline will save you time and will ease the process of elaborating your opinion through the piece. 

When you work on your outline, break the piece of paper into three parts that represent the components of your piece. Put the key points into these three sections while you are thinking of what you are going to write about. For example, what the event was, what you have learned, what went wrong/well, what the impact on you was, etc. Just a few words will be enough to guide you through your writing and help you not miss anything.

The Three Core Features

Pay attention to the key features of reflective writing:

  • It should provide a description (what, where, when)
  • It should provide your expression (I think, I feel, I believe)
  • It should provide analysis and explanation (why, how)

The three features above are extremely important for a piece of reflective writing. They are the core principles that you should follow, and each of them should be present in your work, providing your opinion and thoughts. These are also the principles that you use when writing a critical response essay.

Answer the Questions

Reflective writing has steps or stages that you should follow in the process. When writing a piece like that, it’s essential to cover the particular points and answer the questions that help build a reflective analysis. Here are some of the most common questions that you should answer in your piece:

Revisiting the event or experience:

  1. What was your experience?
  2. What was significant about it?
  3. What details can you give?
  4. What was your role?

Examining your reaction and attitude:

  1. What was your reaction?
  2. What were you thinking about?
  3. Why did you react the way you did?
  4. Did you notice anything significant, unusual, disturbing?

Expressing and suggesting:

  1. What lesson have you learned?
  2. What suggestions can you give?
  3. What changes do you expect?

If you are reflecting on your learning experience, you can also use the same structure and answer the same questions focusing on the perception of the course and its content. It’s a great way to get a better understanding of what you are learning and even clarify the connections between various pieces of knowledge.

Final Thoughts

Reflective writing can be hard in terms of expressing your thoughts and analyzing them from the perspective of a particular topic. However, once you get an understanding of what your task is, create a quick outline, and write down some key points, you will see that writing the rest of your work is not that hard. However, if you face troubles with this or any other type of assignment, you can always count on our team of experts who can help you structure and express your thoughts. Just let us know if you need our help!

A Full Guide to Qualitative Research

two women talking

Every student faces two types of research through their study years. If you haven’t checked our guide to quantitative research yet, you definitely should as we cover a lot of important points there. Now, let’s find out what qualitative research is, how it differs from quantitative research, and how to implement one to use the results for your academic work.

Definition

Qualitative research is the process of collection descriptive data through conversing, questioning, and observing. While quantitative research aims to get numerical data, qualitative research focuses on the data that characterizes particular phenomena, behavior, objects, and events. It can’t be measured but can provide useful insights and a foundation for quantitative research.

Qualitative research is often used in various sociology and psychology studies as it can help understand the behavior and preferences of particular groups of people. It’s also commonly used in marketing management to determine what marketing strategies a business should implement to draw the attention of their target audience.

Characteristics

Qualitative research has particular specifics that one should consider when deciding on what type of research to use for their study:

  1. Qualitative research requires gathering lots of data from various sources in order to get the most reliable results. That’s why it might be time-consuming. However, if you need to conduct research for your paper, you can surely turn to a professional team that will nail it.
  2. The data needed for research should often be collected at sight. For example, if researchers want to learn more about the nature of nightmares, they should work with people who are experiencing them at the moment and not used to in the past. That means that sometimes searching for the right group of participants might be challenging.
  3. The complex problems that a researcher wants to solve should be broken into smaller segments in order to make it possible to explore the problem, its cause, and its effects.

Data Gathering Methods

There are a few types of qualitative research methods that one can use for their studies.

Interviews

Interviews (often one-on-one type) are one of the most common methods of qualitative research that are used for various studies. Interviews are usually held in order to get an opinion from a group of participants but without their communication with each other. Such interviews are preferred in psychology studies as they allow to avoid biases and gather precise data that is not affected by the answers of other participants.

Interviews can be conducted not only face-to-face but also by phone or video calls. This method has a particular advantage: a researcher can control the process and choose the questions to ask according to the previous answer. This is what differs this method from written questionnaires or surveys with a specific set of questions where a personalized approach can’t be applied.

Observation

If the researchers want to collect information from the participants without changing their natural setting, the method of observation is applied. It is a process of collecting data by observing and through involvement in the activities led by the participants themselves. In other words, when observing, researchers can make conclusions about the setting and behavior of the participants without intruding in their lives.

Observations are important as they allow gathering the data that wouldn’t be that reliable if asked in an interview. Many people might not give the answer to a particular question, but their behavior in their natural setting will provide such an answer to the researchers.

Focus groups

The group of participants that is used to explore and study a phenomenon is called a focus group. Research that uses such a method aims to collect information from a particular group of people that might (or might not) share some common qualities.

Often, focus groups are gathered to have group discussions and therefore determine similarities and correlations. It’s important to create the right environment for such discussions in order to gather truthful and reliable data.

Criticism

Though qualitative research methods are frequently used in various studies and researches, there are particular characteristics that should be paid attention to.

Reliability

As qualitative data is commonly collected from the information that participants give themselves, it’s hard to call it totally reliable. Such research should always consider possible biases and deviations as it’s hard to sort and test this information.

Some participants might not give honest answers or try to give the answers that are expected or requested. Other participants might be not aware of their biases due to various circumstances and even the presence of researchers themselves. So, it’s one of the main issues that one might face when conducting qualitative research.

Analysis

Another difficulty that many researchers face is the step after the collection of the data – the data analysis. Unlike the quantitative research that deals with raw numbers, the qualitative data is much more diverse, thus it is hard to analyze it and interpret it appropriately and stay unbiased.

The same data can be interpreted differently depending on the aims of the research, experience of the researcher, instruments used, etc. That’s why it’s so important to combine various methods of research in order to collect as much data as possible and use different methods of analysis.

Wrapping Up

So, this was our guide to qualitative research. We hope you find it useful for your studies. Remember that the combination of various research types and methods usually get the most reliable results. It requires time and effort, but if done right, such researches can give very useful insights and even provide a fresh look at the problem.

A Full Guide to Quantitative Research

a book and a notebook on the table

When talking about researching and data collection processes, it’s hard not to mention the two major categories of research – quantitative and qualitative. Some students might feel frustrated about these two types and not really understand what they are and how to use them in their papers. So, we have prepared a complete guide that will tell you everything that you should know to conduct in-depth research for your academic works.

Definition

Quantitative research is the process of gathering various numerical data in order to study some phenomenon or case. This raw data is later transformed into graphs and tables, proceeded, and analyzed. It commonly uses measurable data to test theories and assumptions, discover patterns, and formulate facts.

Quantitative research is commonly transformed into statistics that later can be combined with qualitative research results in order to develop ideas and hypotheses.

Methods

There are four types of quantitative research methods that are commonly used in various studies:

  • Experimental research
  • Correlational research
  • Causal-comparative research
  • Descriptive research

Our experts conduct each and every type of research that is needed. So, if you feel overwhelmed, you can always turn to our team for help. And now, let’s find out what are the specifics of methods that are used in quantitative research.

Experimental research

Experimental research is a quantitative method that aims to prove or disprove a hypothesis (in some cases, a number of hypotheses). It is one of the most common research methods in science (commonly natural sciences, such as biology or physics) and establishes the causes and effects of various phenomena. Every student faces experimental research in the lab during their science classes, so it’s easy to understand the specifics, such as the combination of practical and theoretical knowledge, the variety of possible outcomes, etc.

There are three types of experimental research design:

  • Pre-experimental research design – is a design where an experimental group (or a number of groups) is observed and studied without comparing it to a control group. It is named so due to its main purpose – to define if the further study should be done.
  • Quasi-experimental research design – is a design that implies selecting groups without any random assignment or pre-selection process.
  • True experimental research design – is a design where researchers have control over the variabilities and randomized assignment of control and test groups. This is the most accurate type of research design.

Correlational research

Correlational research is a method that aims to define correlation and relationships between two or more variables. For example, there might be a correlation between such things as carpets and allergies, where these variables are measured between -1 and +1. If the correlation coefficient is close to 1, it tells us that there is a positive correlation – carpets cause allergies. It’s not an absolute fact, and it doesn’t mean that every carpet owner will have an allergy. It just means that it is more likely with people who live with carpets in their homes to have allergies.

Causal-comparative research

Causal-comparative research aims to find correlations and causative relations; however, unlike correlational research, it studies dependent and independent variables. Mainly it studies how focus groups change under the influence of variables, or in other words, how an independent variable affects dependent variables.

Descriptive research

Descriptive research is a method that studies the objects or phenomena from a descriptive point of view. In other words, it aims to collect quantifiable data about the object of the study in order to later use it for statistics and further analysis. Descriptive research deals with independent variables – thus none of them can be manipulated.

The data obtained in the process of descriptive research can be used for cross-sectional studies, comparison, patterns discovery, etc. The most common descriptive research method is an observation that aims to collect numerical data based on the observations. For example, researchers can collect information about their focus group such as their height and weight, age, income, etc.

The other way to collect information for descriptive research is to use surveys and case studies, which are also highly effective.

Strengths

When deciding what data collection method or approach to choose, it’s important to consider the strength and limitations of each of the options. Here are the specifics of quantitative research that might be beneficial for your study.

High reliability

The main specific, which is also the main advantage, is that quantitative research results are objective and unbiased (if the research was done right) and logical and statistical, thus are highly reliable.

Speed

Quantitative research is also faster to conduct as there is no such information that needs to be interpreted or evaluated, so the results are faster and easier to analyze. For example, if the surveys are conducted, the respondents don’t need to explain their choice or fill out open-ended questions, so there will be no extra work besides calculating and putting the data together into tables or statistics.

Generalization

Quantitative research can interpret the results received from a target group (or the group of research) and apply them to a larger group, making generalized conclusions.

Limitations

There are also limitations to pay attention to, especially, if you are going to use quantitative research in the process of writing a research paper.

Context

When dealing with raw numbers (which is what quantitative research does), it’s hard to understand the context of the phenomenon which is studied. It limits the outcomes which might not properly represent the phenomenon but generalize it instead.

Resources

Researchers don’t always have access to the proper sources of data they need. The lack of resources might be the reason why results are biased and inaccurate.

Generally, quantitative research should be supported by qualitative research also as they create a wonderful combination that allows examining and studying complex objects while staying unbiased in the conclusions.

So, this was our guide on quantitative research. We hope that you find it useful for your studies!

The List of Essential Skills for a College Student

a college student reading a magazine

Have you ever wondered if there is a set of habits and skills that makes a college student successful? Or if there are some skills that a high school student should develop before going to college? We have created a list of such skills that help a college student not only succeed in studying but also get the most out of college years.

Self-Discipline

This is the most important skill that a college student should possess or develop through the school year. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of self-discipline as it is one of the main factors that affect students’ grades.

Being self-disciplined means valuing your time and making decisions that sometimes might be pretty hard. It’s also about establishing a schedule and following it, putting enough time and effort into studies (even if they are boring), and setting the right short-term goals.

College is a place with numerous temptations like late-night parties, laziness, and alcohol, so it’s often hard for a person to concentrate on their studies. That is why college years might become a real challenge for one’s self-discipline.

Time Management

How often do we hear people complaining that they can’t find time to do something? However, there are also people who can study, work, and even manage to raise kids and have hobbies at the same time. How is it possible? Do the latter have more than 24 hours in a day? No. They just can manage their time successfully.

Time management is not about finding an activity to keep you busy but rather being objective when it comes to planning ahead and setting tasks. When you know how much time you need to complete an assignment, it’s easy to plan your evening and spend time effectively.

By establishing a schedule and planning your activities beforehand, you can achieve success in studying while keeping your social life. When one knows how to manage their time, they tend to procrastinate less and get to work when they get the task instead of waiting until the very last moment. That’s the main reason why students with great time management skills rarely miss the deadlines – they had it in their schedule and completed the task beforehand. If you face difficulties with managing and plannin your time, you can turn to us for assistance with your assignments.

Personal Finance Management

When living far away from your home, there is a lot you need to learn how to do, including managing your finances. It all depends on the amount of financial support you get (if any), but generally, it’s hard for the majority of students to stick to their budget.

Every college student should be able to plan their spending ahead and rationally use their budget. It’s hard considering all the temptations, like parties, concerts, and fashionable clothes. However, college teaches how to make priorities.

Self-Care Skills

Many students who live with their parents face the need to care about themselves only when coming to college. This is the time when they realize they don’t know how to do their laundry, how many times they should change their bedsheets per semester, and where to buy various necessities.

If you are laughing while reading this, then you are probably one of those students who were taught how to take care of yourself and your home, and that’s a great start already. However, if you have never learned how to unclog the shower drain, it’s just the right time to start doing so. There are a lot of things that college students who live in the dorms have to deal with, so being prepared is the must.

Self-care skills also imply paying attention to your appearance and well-being. You will be the one responsible for your health, hygiene, and clothes. So, being acquainted with different medicines and health/beauty routines is highly suggested.

Communication Skills

There’s nothing wrong with being introverted or shy. However, college is not really that place where you can easily avoid communication. So, future (or present) college students should really work on their communication skills.

Talking to your professor, roommate, or classmates might seem intimidating if you are a rather shy person, however, practice is what you need to feel more comfortable in a conversation. Here are a few tips for you:

  • Keep a friendly approach. It’s always awkward when a person who you are speaking seems to not enjoy this conversation (but rather treats you as a burden). You wouldn’t want that happen to you, right? So, don’t be the person who acts like that in the first place. Many shy people seem hostile when approached. Don’t do that, control your facial expression, and be friendly when someone starts talking to you.
  • Be a good listener. There is hardly anything ruder than interrupting a person while they are speaking or not paying attention to the conversation. Make sure to learn how to listen to a person in order to become better in communicating.
  • Show your interest. Ask questions – they are great for establishing contact and finding something in common.

Research Skills

Being in college means writing tons of assignments, which also means knowing how to do your research. This is the type of skill that will significantly help you with your written assignments – saving you time and improving your grade.

Learn how to conduct research and look for the right sources for your works while you are still in high school to make sure you are ready for college assignments. And if you are a college student already, improve your researching skills by creating a list of reliable sources such as Google Scholar in your computer for easier access and learning some tips and tricks on googling the needed keywords.

5 Tips to Stay Productive During Holidays and Breaks

a girl in a scarf with a cup of coffee

Every student looks forward to taking it easy during the holiday break. After a fast-paced and challenging semester, it is always nice to have some time off to relax, spend time with family and friends, and not worry about the next test or assignment due. However, while school breaks don’t need to be work-intensive, you should still try to accomplish some things while you are away from your studies. After all, as soon as the break is over, you’ll be heading back to school, and you definitely want to be ready for that. Here are 5 great tips to help you stay productive during holidays and breaks.

Have a Holiday Break Plan

While it is nice to get away from the rigors of an academic schedule, you should still make a plan for how you’ll spend your break; otherwise, the time will pass quickly, and you’ll have missed opportunities. Prior to starting your break, look at a calendar and plot out how you’ll use the time. While you’ll want to have blank space on your schedule to simply rest and relax, you should also make sure that you allocate time to get together with friends and family; if you need to do any studying over the holiday, you should mark that on your calendar as well. Overall, having a holiday break plan will help you stay productive and get the most out of your holiday break time as well.

Stick to a Schedule

Don’t pick up any bad time management or sleep schedule habits while you’re away on your holiday break. If you party late into the night and sleep into the early afternoon every single day during your break, you’re going to be in for a big shock when you return to school.  Instead, stick to a more moderate schedule over the holiday where you might stay up a bit later, but still, get up at a reasonable time each morning. You should also try to eat your meals at normal times as well. Following a reasonable schedule during the break will allow you to have fun over the holidays, but still make it relatively easy to snap back into your school schedule when the break ends. Of course, if you face troubles when going back to classes after a long break, you can always get help from a professional team.

Make a Task List

One of the best ways to stay productive during holidays and breaks is to plan to accomplish things with the extra time you have.  Make a list of the things you need to get done, or that you would like to do over the holiday break. Your tasks could include mundane things, such as mailing a tuition payment or getting the oil changed in your car. It could also include fun events you’d like to do, such as go to a museum, or personal challenges to accomplish, like a 10K road race. Keep your written task list with you and mark off each task as it is accomplished. Doing so will help you stay more productive during your break, so you make the most of your time off.

Don’t Let Your Brain Rust

While you want to enjoy some much-needed time off during your break, you should also try to keep your mind sharp. Otherwise, you’ll be in for a bit of a shock when your classes start up again.  Here are a few activities you should consider to keep your mental edge over the holiday break:

  • Watch documentaries and educational shows
  • Read articles, books, or scholarly journals related to your course of study
  • Attempt to learn a new skill
  • Visit local museums, art galleries, or go see a play
  • Maintain your writing skills – keep a journal, try various writing exercises or write real letters to friends or family
  • Take a short online course in a topic that interests you
  • Solve the daily newspaper crossword puzzle
  • Pick up a hobby, such as knitting, gardening, jigsaw puzzles,

While this is by no means an all-inclusive list, any of these activities are fun to do and could help you keep your mind sharp during the holiday break. Consider trying one of them, or some other activity, so your mind stays active and engaged while you’re away from your studies; you’ll be thankful you did when your classes start up again. Also, check out some useful tips on how you can improve your writing skills.

Stay in Shape

Don’t turn into a couch potato over your holiday break, or you’ll be in for a rude awakening when you head back to school. If you’re an athlete, failing to work out and stay in shape over break could cost you a starting position on a team. Even if you don’t participate in sports, you don’t want to be out of shape and tired as you start the new semester. Take the time to exercise on a regular basis while you are home on break. Additionally, try not to overindulge at big family or holiday meals either. Putting a little effort in to work out and stay in shape will help you feel better and enjoy your holiday break even more; you’ll also be more prepared to head back to school and tackle your classes when the break comes to an end.

You can have fun, relax and enjoy your holiday break, and still remain productive. Just consider all of the tips offered here; if you do, you’ll have a terrific holiday break and be better prepared to start your next semester as well.