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Research & Citing: Home

The research process

The research process can be messy. As you explore background information, start reading articles and even begin to write, you might discover that you need to adjust your topic a little (or a lot). Perhaps you need scholarly articles and you can’t find any. Maybe you discover a more interesting aspect of your original topic. This is all part of the process. This is all research.

Identify your question

Choose a topic

Broaden or narrow your topic

Identify keywords

Explore background information

Encyclopedias and other sources

Find your sources

Prepare a search strategy

Searching a database

Searching by citations

Evaluate what you find

Evaluate the relevance of your sources

Evaluate the quality and credibility of your sources

Determine the types of sources

Evaluate content from the web

Use and cite your sources


Avoid plagiarism


Check out this great video from NC State Libraries about the research process.


UC Santa Cruz Library Start your research

UW Madison Writing Center

U Mich Library Finding and exploring your topic

The OWL at Purdue Research: Where do I begin?

Books about research

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