This is the "Steps to Research" page of the "Research Guide--With Resources by Subject and Citation Page" guide.
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Research Guide--With Resources by Subject and Citation Page  

An outline of the research process with links and hints to help you write a credible and well organized paper.
Last Updated: Mar 1, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Steps to Research Print Page

Getting Started

Great papers come from solid thesis statements which evolve throughout the research process. Take the time to begin this process with the following steps:

1. Understand the assignment

  • Read the entire assignment through carefully
  • Look at any examples or other materials provided by the teacher
  • Highlight due dates

2. Read/Research for an overview of the main subject

  • Review class texts or materials
  • Use encyclopedias or websites to build your knowledge base
  • Begin to focus in on something that you find interesting or significant 


    Choose A Topic

    Build upon the knowledge base that you began by exploring possible resources for the topic(s) that you found interesting or significant.

    3. List some keywords that relate to your possible topic(s)

    • Keywords are synonyms or related words to use when researching 
    • Finding too many or too few keywords can be an early indication that the topic is too broad or too narrow

    4. Use your keywords to look for resources

    • The library catalog will help you to find BOOKS
    • The Library Page OnBrooks will help you find databases for articles, websites, and online reference sources
    • The internet can be a powerful research tool but be sure to EVALUATE every page before including as a source (See Evaluating Sources Guide)
    • Take good notes, bookmark pages, copy links, write citations, and do whatever you need to so you can FIND THE RESOURCE AGAIN! Knowing that you had a quote, statistic, article, etc. that would perfectly support your thesis but you cannot find it is VERY FRUSTRATING--don't let it hapen to you.

    5. Focus your topic ("Statement of Purpose")

    • Based on the resources that you have found focus your topic
    • Do not pick something that had too many or too few available resources
    • Don't be worried if a clear thesis statement has not evolved at this point--often more research and analysis are still necessary

    Prepare to Write

    6. Gather all of the relevant resources you will need to write and support your paper

    7. Analyze the information within your sources to form a thesis statement

    • Be prepared re-evaluate your topic at this point--the focus may have shifted
    • Need more help with your thesis statement? Check out these sites:

     Purdue Owl Thesis Statement Tips

    University of Wisconsin Writing Center

    8. Delete irrelevant resources and fill in the gaps by finding new ones

    • Look at the keywords you have been using and add new ones 


    9. Outline

    10. Rough Draft

    11. Citations

    12. Proofread

    13. Revise, correct and finish

    Welcome to the Henry Luce III Library

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    Ann Massoth, Library Director
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    Subject Guide

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    Paula Kass
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    Research Tips

    brainstorm as many keywords as possible

    use a variety of print/electronic resources

    evaluate websites

    cite your sources

    ask for help



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