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Ezra's Research Diary: Tried and True Strategies for Effective Undergraduate Research: Getting Started

This library guide is designed to help students understand the overall process of undergraduate research at Cornell.

Ready Resources

Librarians are eager to help! Walk in, call, text, e-mail, or set up an individual research consultation: Ask a Librarian.

  • Library Guides subject guides and course guides created by Cornell librarians.

Study spaces at Mann

There are plenty of spaces to study at Mann, including group study space and individual study space. You can find more information here

A few words about research...

Did you know that in a recent study of how college students use information in the digital age, 84% of surveyed students responded that getting started is one of the most difficult steps in the research process (Head & Eisenberg, 2010, p. 3)?

If you are among the 84%, don't be worried. Even experienced researchers struggle with this part. To overcome the inertia you feel at the beginning of your project, it helps to keep a few things in mind:


  • Research takes longer than you'd think! It is therefore important to start early and manage your time wisely.
  • At this stage of your academic career, don't worry about becoming the world's leading expert in your subject. Your primary concerns are (a) creating a piece of work that is of a high level of scholarship and (b) practicing and refining your own research process.
You might be wondering, what does a high level of scholarship look like? Here are a few key qualities that your research should demonstrate:
  • Authenticity
  • Originality
  • Newness in style, character, substance, and form
  • Balance
  • Freedom from imitation
  • Produced through your own faculties of thought


With these points in mind, it's time to get started!



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