The Research Process is a seven-step process that helps researchers conduct thorough research on a topic. The seven steps are as follows:
- Identify and develop your topic.
- Find background information on your topic & plan your search.
- Find book and media on your topic using the catalog.
- Find periodical articles from our print collection and the library databases.
- Find credible Web sources.
- Evaluate the sources you find.
- Cite the sources/information you use.
To help you get started with your research, we will discuss the first two steps below. Check out The Research Process guide for a complete understanding of all seven steps in the process.
1. Identify and develop your topic.
- When choosing your topic be sure that it:
- Is appropriate for the assignment.
- A manageable size.
- Interests you.
- If you don't have ideas for a topic, consider:
- Browsing your course materials (syllabus, textbook, assignments, etc.)
- Talking with your instructor or peers.
- Browsing a recent issues of a journal within the field.
- Turn your topic into a question:
- What do you want to know about your topic?
- What questions about your topic have already been asked or still need to be answered?
- When you start to conduct your research, look for sources that examine similar questions on the topic.
2. Find background information on your topic and plan your search.
- Find background information on your topic by using reference materials or a source that provides overview.
- Check to see if your textbook has any information about your topic.
- Encyclopedias are a great place to start for background information and a selected bibliography.
- Try looking in a few electronic reference resources are listed on the left.
- Plan your search.
- Create concept map of your topic.
- Pick out keywords from the topic question and concept map you created.
- Figure out what types of sources you will need (book, journal article, etc.).
- With three keywords and an idea of what sources you will need, you're ready to search! For a list of subject resources, check out the LibGuides below.
Still having trouble? Set up an appointment with one of our librarians!