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Student Success - First Year, Any Year: Doing Academic Research

Research Basics

See our Academic Research Basics guide to get a better overview of what academic research is all about and how to do it.

Introduction to Academic Research (5 minute video)

What's At the Library



General services and resources that are available in the Library include:

Research Process Steps

There are many ways to approach the research process. As you gain experience doing research assignments you will gradually develop a process that works best for you. In the mean time, you might want to look at the steps below, which represent one way you can organize your research process.

  1. Read and understand your assignment
    1. Email your professor any questions you may have OR
    2. Arrange an appoint to talk to your professor during his/her office hours
  2. Identify and develop your topic. ...
    1. Do some background research to get a better understanding of your topic
      1. You may use Wikipedia for this stage.
      2. Consult the "Understanding the Topic -- Background Research" page of the Academic Research Basics guide.
    2. List the major issues, opinions, perspectives, etc. related to the topic.
    3. Write down terminology/vocabulary related to the topic.
    4. Begin to focus on one aspect of the topic.
    5. Draft a research question
  3. Do a preliminary search for information ...
    1. You can again see what Wikipedia has but then go to the Library's databases to find authoritative information. Again try the "Understanding the Topic -- Background Research" page of the Academic Research Basics guide.
    2. Identify databases that will most likely give you articles or other data on your topic.
    3. It is strongly suggested that you seek help at the Reference Desk in the Library
  4. Locate materials. ...
  5. Evaluate your sources. ...
  6. Make notes. ...
  7. Write the first draft of your paper.
  8. Give yourself a day or so and proofread your first draft and make changes as needed.
  9. Write final draft that includes changes and or corrections from your proofreading.

Research Tools Explained

How Do Search Engines Work? This page is part of the Bitesize collection of learning resources for adults, children, parents and teachers: find videos and audio clips by level, subject and topic. Bitesize is published by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), United Kingdom.


Library Media Resources Center
LaGuardia Community College
31-10 Thomson Avenue, room E101
Long Island City, NY 11101
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