This is the "Getting Started" page of the "Research Process" guide.
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Research Process  

A guide to conducting research.
Last Updated: Nov 9, 2012 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Getting Started Print Page

Understanding the Assignment

  • What are the requirements of the research paper--what does your instructor expect?
  • What are the guidelines or restrictions?
  • How long should the paper or project be?
  • When is it due, are there interim deadlines before the final project is due?
  • What is the research goal?

Phases of Research (Mary George, The Elements of Library Research)


Topic Selection

Choose something that interests you (at least temporarily), Ask questions, Browse the general topic and look for terms and keywords that keep reappearing in your reading and searches (write these down)


Consider your work from all angles

Research Questions (Brainstorming)

What do you already know? What do you want to discover?

Research Plan (Strategy)

Keep a log (Easy Bib): notes and citations, Use Diigo to highlight points of interest in online documents create lists in the library catalog and databases, import or email citations, watch for subject headings you encounter in database (use these as keywords for further searches)

Reference Works & Databases (Tools & Tactics)

Read specialized books, encyclopedias, journals, Search the catalog and databases, Browse the shelves


Evaluate and verify sources. Evaluating print & online sources: accuracy, audience, authority, currency, objectivity, purpose.  Primary Vs. Secondary Sources.


Apply critical thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation, organization), identify: main ideas, conflicting information, and point of view or bias

Insight (Aha! moment)

All the research comes together 


Put your research in "buckets" by theme, look for the the main ideas from each to emerge, use these ideas to form the thesis: one true sentence that explains your insight and that you can craft into an argument

(Argument & Outline Drafting & Revising)

Meet Your Librarian

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Regina Snelson
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704-292-7662 x 7015
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What am I reading right now?
Drowned by Nichola Reilly


Thanks to Ms. Miller for allowing me to adapt her LibGuide.


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