What You Need to Know
Understanding Your Assignment
Before you begin looking for information you should make sure you understand your assignment. Some good questions are:
- How many pages?
- How many sources?
- What kinds of sources?
- What format?
Your professor is your best resource to answer these questions.
Some Related Guides
A Proposal For Your Research Topic
- Pick a topic from the list provided or get topic approved if not on list.
- Write a short paper summarizing the topic of your choice and evidence for and against it.
- State the claim
- Examine the evidence
- Consider alternative hypotheses
- Propose a test to prove it true
- Think about your further research
- Gather sources for the propsal and for your actual paper.
- Can you use the following?
- academic journals
- authoritative web sites from institutions trusted by academics
- MLA style
Researching Your Topic
- Use this research guide by going through the tabs above. Or see if there's a research guide for your specific topic.
Learn about your topic
Once you have chosen a topic, it's always useful to use general reference sources to better understand the issues surrounding your topic and get some background information. Reference sources are a good starting point for your research because they help you become better acquainted with your topic. This will help you refine you topic and come up with keywords to help you find more information. Start with the Understand Your Topic tab above.
For Your Review
Research Basics - Step by Step
Breaking Down The Research Process
The following outline gives a simple and effective strategy for finding information for a research paper and documenting the sources you find. Depending on your topic and your familiarity with the library, you may need to rearrange or recycle these steps. Adapt this outline to your needs. We are ready to help you at every step in your research.
- Choose a topic - or have one assigned
- Understand your topic
- Background reading
- Consider a main focus
- Refine your topic
- Make a list of your keywords and concepts
- Background reading
- Search Sources
- Find Books
- Find Articles
- Find Websites
- Write your paper - Informative, Analytical, Argumentative, Critical
- Cite your sources