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A how-to guide for research: Home

What is research?

When writing a paper or developing a presentation, you frequently will need to do research to find the information that you'll include in your final product. Academic and professional research requires more than just a quick Google search and the cutting and pasting of a few relevant quotes. This research guide will take you step by step through the research process and show you how to use the library and the web to find good sources.

First, let's look at the Research Process:

  • Define what problem you are solving and/or what information you need.
  • Locate resources in the library and online.
  • Select resources that help you best solve your problem.
  • Organize the information to help decide if you have enough and can communicate it successfully.
  • Use the information effectively and ethically. Think about what you have learned and the impact it will make.

Research as a process

You may need to revisit some of the steps as you complete your research.

For example:

  • After locating some resources and reading about your topic, you may think of better search terms to use.
  • You may find a list of references in resources you have located and use these to locate more resources.
  • Once you start planning the outline of your project, you may find gaps in your research and need more information to fill the gap.

Source: University of Melbourne

Five Steps to Information Literacy


This image appears in the FYE 105 textbook: FOCUS on Community College Success (3rd edition) by Constance Staley (page 158.) Ms. Staley adapted it from Wood, G. (2004, Apr. 9). Academic original sin: Plagiarism, the Internet, and librarians. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 30(3), 237 - 242. Reprinted by permission of Elsevier; Samson, S. (2010, May). Information Literacy learning outcomes and student success. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 36(3), 202-10.

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