Q. What steps should I follow in researching a topic?
There are three basic steps to follow when researching a topic for a class or paper. Follow them, and remember: if you have questions do not be afraid to ask!
Before you begin your research:
- Make sure you understand your assignment instructions and your instructor's expectations for your work. Ask questions if something is unclear.
- Select a topic that interests you, is unique, or current. Be original!
- Plan out your project, break large assignments into smaller tasks, and do a little each day or week so that you aren't rushed toward the end.
- Reach out to your instructor for help with topic selection.
During your research:
- Use library ebooks and databases to assure high-quality, relevant resources. See our ANSWER on Ways to Research for more information.
- Select resources that are credible and related to or that support your topic.
- If you are having difficulty finding sources using topical keywords: search for terms that are related to, or appear frequently in relation to your topic.
- Keep notes about each resource that you discover. Your notes should include information about the source, why it relates to your topic, and how it fits into your research plan.
- DON'T copy notes word for word. Create your own ideas using the information you've discovered.
- Reach out to a librarian via chat if you get stuck, need help navigating databases, or need additional resources.
After you finish your research:
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