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Digital Research

This guide provides an overview of tips, support, and resources available to complete digital research projects at American University.

Step 3: Develop and Publish

In this step, you will begin creating the final product to share your research findings. If you are creating a digital research project that involves a digitally published final product, the next step in your digital project is to begin building that product. No matter the chosen medium, when building a product to showcase research finding digitally, there are conventions, accepted standards, and best practices to follow. It is crucial to take the time to learn what these are for the medium you have chosen before you being building the final product, as mentioned in Step 1 of this section. If you are using media such as audio or video clips, photos, or music in a digital publication, it is important that each piece of media respects copyright law.

Tasks to Complete During this Step

  • Determine how content will be viewed and retrieved by users of the product.
  • Create the digital publication and develop any new tools or interfaces, if necessary.
    • Host elements in the way they were intended for maximum effect.
    • Follow accepted standards in web design when building any web pages (e.g., follow standards for color, navigation, pages, linking, etc.).
    • Follow accepted standards for file types, data encoding, and data storage.
    • Use standard vocabulary for the description of objects, documents, and other evidence (so that it can be replicated and built upon.
  • Keep in mind accessibility guidelines and standards for any digital product that you create.
  • Offer appropriate citations for content quoted or republished in your project.

Questions to Consider During this Step

  • How is your chosen digital publication method enhancing your scholarship?
  • Have you taken the time to become familiar with the accepted methods of publishing in your chosen medium before starting?
  • Does your final digital publication follow accessibility standards to ensure access for all users?
  • What information would you like to track about your end users? How will you provide a statement for your users about what information is collected from them and why?

Resources for Step 3

Guidelines for Authors of Digital Resources: The Modern Language Association has published a list of recommended best practices for authors of digital resources intended for use by students, teachers, and scholars in the modern languages (but can be applied to other disciplines as well).

Images Research Guide: In any type of digital storytelling or digital publication of research, it is important to use images responsibly. This guide from the University of Washington Library describes how.

Digital Accessibility Research Guide: This guide from the University of Michigan provides information on accessibility so that digital content creators can make their digital research and information usable for all.

Plain Language Summary of WCAG Guidelines: The WCAG Guidelines are the standard for making Web content more accessible. Kin+Carta Create has developed a plain language summary for you to follow if you're creating web content as part of your digital publication plan.

WebAIM: Writing Clearly and Simply: Tips and practices for writing clearly and why it matters across differences in culture, neurotype, and more.