Research Process: The Steps
1. Choose a Topic
From the Teacher’s Topic Bank choose a topic that interests you. If you are interested in the topic, the research will be more rewarding in that you will be finding out answers to your own questions
Read (Print or Online) about your topic in a general or specific reference for background information. Find useful keywords during your research for later use
Tools : General Online Encyclopedias (Britannica, World Book Online), SIRS Discoverer, Wikipedia
3. Focus the Topic
State your Topic as a question that you intend to answer in your project
4. Find Sources
Identify the kinds of sources you will need to complete your research
Tools --> Start with Broad resources and work toward more specific resources for example:
- General Online Encyclopedia —> World Book Online
- Specific Research Database —> Science in Context
- Vetted/Evaluated Websites —> Through Destiny WebSearch
- General Search Engine using Key words — These web sites must be evaluated
Suggestion - Use Google Scholar (https://scholar.google.com.hk/)
NOTE: If you are doing a search using Web Sites that are not vetted (evaluated) you must evaluate them!
To Evaluate your Sources — Full description can be found at (http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/evalcrit.html)
- Authority - Is there an author, Is the author qualified, who is the sponsor, is the sponsor reputable, is there a link to information about the author or sponsor, if the page is not signed, is there way to determine its origin.
- Accuracy - Is the information reliable and error free, is there an editor or someone who verifies/check the information
- Objectivity - Does the information show a minimum of bias, is the page designed to sway opinion, is there any advertising on the page
- Currency - Is the page dated - if so when was the last update, how current are the links
- Coverage - What topics are covered, what does this site offers that is not found elsewhere, does the information on the site have intrinsic worth, how much in depth is the material
5. Record your Sources
Use MLA or APA citations - See Destiny Home Page for Citation Links. The Long Island Univ APA or MLA Citation Guide are good color coded citation guides to use.
Before taking your first note or highlighting your first sentence, record your sources. Keep a working bibliography as you go along. You can always disregard a title that you end up not using.
6. Outline and Take Notes
Take Notes in whatever way your teacher requires - (Consider using NoodleTools - See Mr. Boyer for help.) As you take notes you may develop more questions that are important to investigate. Continue to circle back to your main idea to see if you are finding answers to your question in the notes you are taking.
7. Create/Write the Project - Per Teacher instructions
8. Edit/Rewrite….. - Per Teacher instructions
Information to create this guide was gleaned from the following 2 sites.
A good Start to Finish LibGuide for the Research Process can be found at the Pulask Technical College LibGuide site (http://libguides.pulaskitech.edu/content.php?pid=348781&sid=2853164)