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The Research Process: Step-by-Step

This guide walks you through the steps of the research process

Tip!

Choose a topic that interests you and will hold your attention. If you do, the research will be more enjoyable!

Spend your valuable time writing papers with topics you find interesting when you have that opportunity. 

The Research Assignment

Before selecting a topic or starting your research, make sure you understand your assignment and its requirements. Consider the following:

  • Have you been assigned a topic or can you pick your own?
  • How many pages/words do you need to write? How long is your presentation?
  • Do you need to include specific types of sources? (e.g. scholarly journal, book, etc.)
  • When is the assignment due? How much time do you have to research?
  • Is currency of information important?

When in doubt, consult with your instructor.

Topic Ideas

 Can’t think of a topic to research? 

  • Scan your textbook for broad topic ideas.
  • Explore current magazines and newspapers in GALILEO to see what catches your eye.
  • Browse print and electronic encyclopedias.
  • Look at "hot topic" databases in GALILEO, such as Opposing Viewpoints, which feature articles on current events and controversial issues.
  • Surf the websites and resources listed on the Library's research guide for your class or major area.
  • Discuss potential topics with your instructor, a librarian or a classmate.