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Steps in the Research Process
Select a Topic
Check instructions and guidelines from your instructor
Brainstorm for Ideas
Choose an area that interests you > strong opinion about it? read or hear about it?
Do some background reading
Encyclopedias, websites, articles
Refine the topic
Limit to geographical area, population group, discipline
Make a list of keywords
Broader or narrower terms, synonyms, key concepts
Form a research question
What do you attempt to answer or discuss
Locate & Analyze your information
Library catalog, databases, Internet search engines > evaluate your sources
Form your Thesis Statement
Write your topic as a thesis statement, the answer to your research question
- Write, write, write - cite, cite, cite
The Information Cycle
The information cycle illustrates what types of information is available based on events. By understanding the information cycle, you will be able to determine what information is available on the topic and better evaluate information sources covering it.
Image from University Library - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Research Process
Washington State E-Learning Council. "Types of Information: Cash in Your Information Riches." IRIS 4-2. (http://www.clark.edu/Library/iris/types/sources/sources.shtml). Published by Clark College Libraries. Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.
Selecting a Topic
Selecting a topic isn't always easy. The following is list of media that will provide you with ideas for selecting and narrowing your topic:
- What's on the news (television, newpaper, online)
- Current debate everyone is discussing
- Topic that is of interest to you
- Google the topic
See some suggestions resources on the Web Resources tab on this guide.