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 are some keywords that describe 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 carefully evaluate all websites you consider.
- 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 8, or APA style or click on the Citation Basics tab above.
- Share what you have learned with your instructor and/or class.