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Remote Library Instruction Basics and Tools: Online Tools for Planning Your Research

Tools for Planning Research

This tool offers a simple and comprehensive step-by-step model for navigating the research process. Published by the University of Minnesota Libraries.

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" of this 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 this 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.
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