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Student Library Guide: The Research Proces

This research guide is designed to provide all Barry University students a basic overview of the resources and services available at the Monsignor William Barry Memorial Library.

Developing a good research topic

How to get from 'current environmental issues' to 'Current Effects of Deforestation on the Mountain Gorilla in South-West Uganda"

KstateLibraries. (2013, August 20). How to Develop a Good Research Topic [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/nXNztCLYgxc

Background Search

Background information serves many purposes:

  • If you are unfamiliar with the topic, it provides a good overview of the subject matter.
  • It helps you to identify important facts related to your topic such as terminology, dates, events, history, and relevant names or organizations.
  • It can help you refine your topic.
  • Background research might lead you to bibliographies that you can use to find additional sources of information.

Good sources of background information include textbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, newspapers, and the internet.

Evaluating Sources

There is a vast amount of information available on the Internet. However, the Internet is not regulated by any agency, so anyone can post information that may not be reliable. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the information before using it as a source.

The following websites will help with evaluating Internet sources:

Evaluating Sources (2:16) Western University

The Research Process

The Research Paper Process

  • Choose a Topic
    • Understand your assignment parameters, requirements, and due dates
  • Conduct Background Research
    • Search for news articles, top hits on Google, and encyclopedia articles.
  • Refine your Topic
    • Narrow down what you want to investigate. Think about the who, what, when, where, and why for your topic.
  • Create a Research Question
    • Come up with a tentative question you want to answer in your project.
  • Develop a Search Strategy
    • Select your resources and develop your keywords
  • Search
    • Conduct multiple searches in relevant resources
  • Evaluate your Results and Sources
    • Use the CRAAP model: currency, relevancy, authority, accuracy, and purpose
  • Adjust and/or Repeat your Search
    • Try different keywords, resources, and strategies depending on your needs
  • Start Writing
    • Incorporate your sources into your writing from the beginning
  • Review and Re-Search
    • Fill in the holes, explore new areas of interest, dig deeper, etc.
  • Cite, Review, and Edit
    • Put the final touches on your project