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Academic Integrity: Unit 4. How to Manage Time Effectively

Time Management

Oxford Dictionaries defines time management as "the ability to use one's time effectively or productively..." One can avoid the urge to cheat or plagiarize if good work habits and good time management skills are adapted early. Additionally, starting research or studying early, allows you to better understand the material or consult with your instructor in advance of the due date to ask for assistance. 

Adopting good research habits early can assist you with your assignments throughout your college career. It is essential that good note-taking starts early. Match the correct phrases to the correct sources using either an old-fashioned 3x5 index card or a computer program like Zotero, which manages your research and citations for you. 

Binghamton University's Glenn G. Bartle Library project calculator located at http://researchhelp.binghamton.edu/ will help you create a timeline for key deadlines in the research and writing process to ensure your paper is completed on time.

Why Does Academic Dishonesty Occur? Study Finds "Lack of Time" as Key Reason

According to research conducted by Patrick Love and Janice Simmons in the form of surveying six Masters-level students, reasons for cheating and plagiarism included:

Lack of time. One individual indicated there is pressure to complete multiple assignments within certain time periods.

Lack of awareness. A student's lack of awareness to the definition of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty such as turning in a previously graded paper into a different class does not exempt the students from being guilty of the behavior.

(Source: Love, Patrick G., and Janice M. Simmons. "ERIC - The Meaning and Mediated Nature of Cheating and Plagiarism among Graduate Students in a College of Education. ASHE Annual Meeting Paper., 1997-Nov-6." ERIC - The Meaning and Mediated Nature of Cheating and Plagiarism among Graduate Students in a College of Education. ASHE Annual Meeting Paper., 1997-Nov-6. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2016.)

 


Steps to Managing the Research & Study Process

Step 1 - Organize Your Calendar: Use the calendar feature in Office 365 or another program like Google Calendar to organize daily time around classes, work, and other activities and commitments that is just dedicated to studying or research. Even if you can only commit one hour a day to studying for an exam or working on a research paper, that is seven hours per week you have dedicated to a project. In addition, add all assignment due dates and exam dates to your calendar.

Sample daily calendar in Google designed to show students how to organize their time.

Step 2 - Understand the Course Content: Read over class notes, assigned texts, and other related content carefully. If you do not thoroughly understand the subject matter, you want to reach out to your instructor as early as possible for assistance. All faculty have office hours posted on their syllabi. The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has broken down the entire process of understanding an assignment at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDBwh47nmiY

Step 3 - Choose a Topic for a Research Paper: Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) stresses that one cannot choose a topic until the course content or subject matter is thoroughly understood. Your instructor may give you a list of topics from which to choose or you may be asked to choose your own topic related to the course of study. 

Step 4 - Begin Your Research: Your topic may evolve as you begin your research process. Get some basic background information. Wikipedia and other online encyclopedias and general Websites can provide basic background on a topic. Take notes to help refine your understanding of the topic.

Step 5 - Write Down Keywords: As you begin your research, write down keywords or concepts related to your topic. Why? As you write down words, those words will translate into keywords to plug into search boxes in research portals.

Step 6 - Choose Your Sources: Does your instructor ask that you use specific sources such as new articles, academic journal articles or print magazines, online magazines, books or book reviews? If so, do you know the difference between these types of sources? If not, reach out to your instructor or to the Reference Librarians. Again, starting the process early allows time to understand this piece of the research process. Faculty and librarians are eager to help. 

Step 7 - Take Notes: As you search through sources, copy notes and the sources from which you gathered your notes. It is helpful to use a free software program like Zotero. Zotero will track notes and their associated sources so that when you are ready to begin the actual writing process, all your research is laid out for you with the information you need for your bibliography and citations. 

Step 8 - Compose Your Paper: This step involves organizing all notes you have taken in a software program like Zotero to begin the writing process. Utilizing a program like Zotero will enable you to associate each note with a source so all citations will be accurate and allow you to avoid plagiarism by incorrectly citing or omitting a citation. At this point in the process you will need to follow the citation process as outlined by your instructor. The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University (OWL) is an excellent resource designed to help writers correctly cite in the major formats. 

Step 9 - Create Your Bibliography: Use a service like Zotero or access RefWorks through the Iona College Libraries to create your bibliography and format your bibliographic resources (books, articles, websites, etc.). 

Step 10 - Proofread Your Work!

How to Use Study Time Most Effectively

The first study tip is designed to help you focus on how to reach out to your instructor for help in the most effective manner.

Get more advanced study tips.