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The Research Process

Your Assignment

Before selecting a topic or starting your research, make sure you understand your assignment.

  • Did your instructor assign topics or can you pick your own?
  • How long is your paper or presentation?
  • Do you need to include/avoid specific types of sources?
  • When is your assignment due?

Start Researching Early

Research is an organic and creative process, and at times, can be unpredictable. Begin your research as soon as possible:

  • Note important assignment deadlines right away
  • Have questions or need help? Don't wait to ask
  • There WILL be roadblocks and personal obstacles - an early start will help manage these
  • It's common to feel anxious at the start of a project - putting it off will only increase stress
  • Start today and take small steps - and it's okay to repeat steps when needed

What is the research process?

  1. Identify and Develop Your Topic
  2. Find Background Information (revise your topic if necessary)
  3. Locate More Information
  4. Evaluate Your Sources
  5. Writing and Citing

Research is Creative

Research is an organic and creative process! You may need to repeat or revisit certain steps above. Consider these tips:

  • Make time: to visit the library, allow for materials/sources to arrive, and to manage all of the non-research things life will throw your way
  • Anticipate and embrace change: follow interesting leads and explore new ideas
  • Record your steps: Carefully document sources as you go along, so you can find them easily later on
  • Tie it together creatively: YOU determine the analysis/findings - don't just re-iterate your sources

Citation Management

These are just a few free tools you can use to manage your research, articles, and citations to help you stay organized.