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Basic Research Process

Pulling it All Together

Following the steps of this guide will lead you through the research process from developing your topic and evaluating your selected information to citing your final sources.  

Remember when you select your topic to spend time on the background information to flesh out your subject. The broader context will give you ideas for associated terms or keywords to use when you start searching for sources.  

Once you have your initial search terms, choose the appropriate resources, from free resources like PubMed or Google Scholar, to subscriptions like the library search or individual library databases, to start gathering your information.  Keep in mind any source type restrictions in your assignment such as peer-reviewed articles or primary sources.  

After you've collected a number of sources, evaluate them and make sure they are appropriate for your research project.  The SMART evaluation method can help you quickly determine whether or not each article, web resource, or book is appropriate. 

Finally, write your paper with an eye for summarizing, quoting, and citing your sources to avoid plagiarism.  You can work with the Writing Lab for help with your paper and use library resources to assist with your citation style.