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Ezra's Research Diary: Tried and True Strategies for Effective Undergraduate Research: Wrap it Up!

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

Take A Break!

You're done. Take a much-deserved nap!


When Do I Know When I'm DONE?!

In a recent study of how college students evaluate and use information in the digital age, almost half of the students surveyed reported that they find it difficult to decided whether they have done a "good job" or not (46%), while over a third of respondents find it difficult to decide when they are finished with the research process (37%) (Head & Eisenberg, 2010, p.26). 


Remember the points you learned when you were "Getting Started," namely that the emphasis now is on the process of learning how to do research. Your goal now is not to be the world's leading expert in "X." For now, you know when you are done when you have:

  • completed a thorough survey of the relevant literature and have a firm understanding of your topic and its context in your field
  • identified a research question or problem, and you have supported your thesis with evidence
  • contributed your "two cents," or your own interpretation/application/significance 
  • proposed ways that your research can be expanded or built upon
Remember that research never stops. You or other researchers like you will continue to build on the new knowledge that you have just created.