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Gathering Data for your Research Papers

When gathering information for your research paper, it is important to have data that can back up the claims that you as a writer are making.

Here are four ways to gather data for your research paper:


One way to collect data for a paper would be to some sort of experiment, whether it be in a chemistry lab to see what happens when you combine two chemicals together or if you decide to put five blocks in front of some children in order to see what color was picked the most. Regardless of what type of experiment, remember that there needs to be a control group as well as a substantial number of people involved in the experiment.


A survey is a form that has a number of questions on it that deals with a particular subject. People use these when they want to gather information quickly and from a large number that they cannot control. College students use this method when they are conducting a project that requires people to answer questions on subjects that cannot be tested in laboratory.

Archival Research:

This approach is mostly used when the writer needs a lot of background information to present to the reader about the subject. A couple of examples that would use this would be if someone was writing about dinosaurs and needed to present evidence that fossils had been for that particular dinosaur, as well as what type it is and why they became extinct. Or on why white is traditionally worn at a wedding but now the trend of being traditional is slowly fading. One more example might be if the writer was writing about different poverty levels from the 1900’s until now, they would go back into the archives to pull the graphs and other data for it.


This method is by simply observing. It is used usually for psychology or sociology research because the person that is doing the observing does not tell the subjects that is what he or she is doing. All it consists of is the writer going to a public place, sitting down, and just watching what other people are doing. An example of this might be if the writer is doing a paper on peer pressure and decides to go to a mall to watch teenagers interacting with each other and see if their purchase in a store or a choice in clothes is based on peer pressure or their own pure thought.