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The most important thing you will learn in college is how to learn and to think critically. Instructors assign research assignments, such as research papers, speeches, or bibliographies, because they help you practice thinking critically about information. With your paper (or speech or other final product), you are showing your instructor that not only can you find, evaluate and understand information, but also that you know enough about a specific topic to create a new product. Your final product will show that you have a broad understanding of a topic, as well as the ability to think critically about the topic, skills that are vital for professional and personal success. For this reason, you will want to use a variety of sources. You’ll need sources that provide broad, overview information and sources that focus on a single aspect or issue.
Before you begin any research project be sure you understand your assignment. Ask your professor to clarify anything about the assignment that you do not understand. It is essential that you understand what your professor is asking you to do before you begin your project.