Congratulations to Minnesota School of Business student Melinda Robertson! She is the Online Division’s Research Award winner for Summer Quarter 2013. For her graduate course on Managerial Communications, Melinda evaluated the Annual Report for Verizon Communications, Inc. to determine whether or not she would invest in the company based on its communication style.
We interviewed Melinda to learn how she put together such an excellent analysis. Read on for her tips for successful research:
What is your best advice for other students who are doing research at the graduate level?
The best advice I can give grad students doing research is to find more sources than the minimum required for your research paper. The more sources you find, the more you can learn about all aspects of your topic, giving yourself a firm understanding to write your paper. Also, the additional sources can bring more concrete evidence to support your argument, making your paper more in-depth and interesting.
Were there any tips you learned that would have made writing your paper easier?
Considering that this was my first big research paper for my master’s degree, I learned a lot of tips for future writing. One is to write your paper and step away from it for a few hours. I was shocked at all the minor errors I had overlooked when I utilized this tip. I also dedicate myself to writing an outline for each of my papers. This allows me to create a map of what I need to say and how I am going to say it. Finally, have another person proofread your paper. From doing a group project in another class, I learned that other students can help you improve your paper by suggesting and commenting on grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
What was the most important thing you learned during your research paper writing experience?
The most important thing I learned through this experience was that if you are confused about the instructions of the research paper, ask your instructor immediately. Do not guess whether the source you are looking at is credible or not, or if your paper conforms to the courses paper requirements. An instructor is there to guide you through your research process, not fail you. I now am more apt to ask an instructor instead of taking a guess on what he or she is looking for in my work.
Is there a particular resource that was the most useful during your research?
The most useful resource is the school library. There are many interesting articles on LibraryConnect to use and read. But, I also found that there is an extensive list of eBooks to look at as well. The librarians are very helpful when it comes to questioning proper APA citation of a source. I have used the librarian chat feature a couple of times now and they are always willing and quick to help me out.
Check out Melinda’s paper at LibraryConnect and enter your ‘A’ paper into the contest for Fall Quarter 2013!