Introduction to Research

Research is a continuous process that takes both practice and time. Good researchers are continuously asking themselves the questions found below and evaluating where they are in the research process. The library is here to support you as you learn about this process and become a more efficient and effective researcher.

Stuck at any point during your research? Check to see if your question is answered in one of our library tutorials or contact us for assistance. The library is here to help you become an excellent researcher and find the resources you need!

Research Process

Points in the Process
Ask yourself...
Library Supports
Develop information need
  • What topics do I want to explore?
  • What background information do I need to find before I can refine my idea?
  • Where can I find a broad overview of this topic?
  • How can I narrow or broaden my idea to make it a manageable topic?
  • Library Subject Guides provide an overview of some topics
  • Reference Materials (2nd floor of the library) contain background information
Access information
  • Where is the best place to look for the information that I need?
  • What is the most effective way to search for the information I need?
  • What are some keywords and search terms that describe my topic?
  • Does this source that I’ve accessed change the focus of my topic or information need? If so, revisit that stage of the process!
Evaluate information
  • Does the information I found adequately address my topic?
  • Are the resources I found high quality and appropriate to my topic?
  • If my resources aren’t appropriate how can I go back and improve the ways I’m finding and accessing them?
  • Evaluating Resources” tutorial - guidelines for judging a resource’s credibility and usefulness
Use information effectively and ethically
  • How can I use the information I’ve found to build or inform my own ideas and knowledge (rather than just restating what I’ve found)?
  • Do I need to go back and find new information or re-evaluate any of my sources?
  • Am I correctly and appropriately citing all information I use?
  • Understanding Citations” tutorial - an overview of APA style citation
  • The Multiliteracies Center (Walker 107) can help you integrate your sources into your writing more effectively