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The research process
- Understand the assignment.
- Set deadlines for every step.
- Identify and develop your topic.
- Find background information.
- Read articles in subject encyclopedias to get an overview.
- Develop keywords and search terms.
- Break your topic down into the most important concepts.
- Add words and phrases that you commonly see.
- Use a thesaurus to find synonyms and other terms.
- Use the library catalog and individual databases to find books, eBooks, periodical articles and other sources.
- Analyze and organize your information.
- Narrow or broaden your search.
- Weed out irrelevant information.
- Write a rough draft.
- Locate additional information to fill in the gaps
- Cite your sources in a standard format.
- Prepare the final version and proofread for logic, flow, spelling, and grammar.
- Get help - with your writing - with your research.
- Repeat any step as needed!
Keep in mind
- Work from the general to the specific. Start simple.
- Stay organized to save time and frustration.
- Look! When using library search engines and databases, look closely at the screens to find useful tools, such as citation, email, sharing, saving, printing, translation, etc.
- All of these can help you stay organized.
- Better to collect more sources than you'll actually end up citing.
- Need help? Ask a librarian!