Congratulations to Globe University-Online student, Kathy Berends! She is the Online Division’s Research Award winner for Summer Quarter 2014. For her course on Exercise Prescription for Special Populations, Kathy evaluated the pros and cons of exercise during pregnancy.
We interviewed Kathy to learn how she put together such an excellent paper. Read on for her tips for successful research.
What is your best advice for other students who are doing research?
I know this has been said before, but get in touch with and talk to your instructor! I never avoid asking my instructor questions, no matter how absurd the question may seem. I would rather be 100 percent sure about something than just make a haphazard guess.
On that order, I usually stick with emailing my instructors as I find it easier to get my thoughts clear and organized in writing than in real-time. Furthermore, even fellow students can spark inspiration if you need an idea or two to get you started. The way I see it, just because we are going to school online doesn’t mean we should feel as though we are going it alone.
What was the most important thing you learned during your research paper writing experience?
The most important thing I learned during my research was to plan out my time and stick to a schedule. The paper I wrote was introduced to us at the beginning of the quarter and was due at mid-quarter. It was a paper in which we were required to come up with our own topic, do our own research and submit it by the due date. Following a pre-planned schedule allowed me to stay on track and finish the paper with enough time to let it sit for a few days before doing a final read-through and submitting it.
Is there a particular resource that was the most useful during your research?
My ACE Group Fitness Instructor Manual was most helpful to me. I am currently in the process of studying for my GFI (Group Fitness Instructor) Certification, so I was enormously glad to have this resource because it had an entire chapter on exercise and pregnancy. I was able to cross-reference much of the information in my paper between at least two credible sources, which I always find reassuring. I try to avoid at all costs giving anyone misinformation, especially on a topic as critical to someone’s health and wellness as an exercise program during pregnancy.
Walk us through your research process.
My research process is as follows: I decide on a subject (or have one given to me) and do my initial research on Library Connect Online Health Fitness databases. These databases, all compiled into one easy-to-access location, help me search through credible publications for relevant articles based on keywords. Searching this way allows me to avoid the wasted time of random online search engine inquiries because I know I will only be shown articles that pertain directly to my research from prominent health and fitness publications.
I then visit my local library for additional resources. Once I’ve read through all the resources I’m going to use, I write. I don’t worry about page lengths or spelling or grammar or the flow of the paper, I just get all my ideas out there. Once I’ve exhausted my retained knowledge, I go back through the paper and incorporate section headings and cite sources, rearrange sentences, and search through my resources to see if I missed any pertinent information. Then I let the paper sit for a day or two.
Next, I make sure I’m within page length requirements and focus on sentence structure and grammar. When I think it’s perfect, I’ll let it sit for another day or two (sometimes I’ll even have someone else read through it and critique it), and then I’ll give it one final scrutinizing read-through. The only step left: submit!