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Library 101 For Students: Research Steps

A short introduction to the CCBC Libraries

Assignment Ideas

Research Steps

1. Research begins with questions.

  • What is the purpose of your research? Read the assignment carefully. Do you need to inform, persuade, entertain?
  • What is your topic or essential question?
  • What do you already know about the topic?
  • What is the main idea and then what are some keywords involved in the topic?
  • What are some related topics or sub-questions?

2. Develop your research plan.

  • When is the final product due? Create a timeline and don't wait until the last minute to do your research!
  • What type of final product will you create?     
  •  What type of information will you need?
  • How much information will you need?
  • Go from the general to the specific--find background information first and then find more detailed information.

3. Locate your information.

  • Where will you look for information? Books, Articles, Websites, Television, People?
  • Use the library catalog to find books, the library databases to find articles and the Internet Public Library to find quality websites.
  • Keep track of all that you find using a research log.
  • Skim and scan the information that you find to identify relevant information.

4. Evaluate your information

  • Does the information answer your original questions?
  • Is the information accurate?
  • What is fact and what is opinion?
  • Is the information current?
  • What is the point of view of the author or publisher?
  • Ask yourself the questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why about each piece of information that you find.

5. Use your information

  • Create your presentation, paper, PowerPoint, speech, debate, etc.
  • Edit your work. Be sure that everything is spelled correctly.
  • Be sure that you have the correct number and type of sources.
  • Be sure that your final product meets the requirements of your assignment.
  • Cite your sources correctly. See the handouts on MLA 7, MLA 8, or APA style or click on the Citing Sources tab in this Guide.
  • Share what you have learned with your instructor and/or class.

Information Cycle

The Information Cycle (from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is the progression of media coverage of a particular newsworthy event.  Knowing about the information cycle will help you to better know what information is available on your topic and better evaluate information sources covering that topic.