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Student Enhancement Support Information (SES): The Research Process: Start Here!

This guide will aid freshman students in learning about the library and its resources.

Getting Started on Your Research

The Research Process: An Overview

Need More Help?

Do you have questions? Don't hesitate to contact your campus librarian! If you'd like to learn more about the steps of the research process, view the Literati Videos and Tutorials available here.

The Steps of the Research Process

The first step is figuring out what it is that you need. Before you head to the library or log on to your computer, refer to your assignment to find answers to questions like:

  • What do I need to do to complete the assignment?
  • What is the topic?
  • What types of sources are appropriate for the assignment?
  • When is the assignment due?

You have quite a few options when it comes to finding the information that you need to complete your assignment. You can use databases, visuals, print or digital media, and the list goes on. Since you have already figured out what you need to complete the assignment, you know how many and what types of sources your professor is expecting you to use. Now you can avoid wasting time with the sources that don’t apply to your assignment and spend your time finding information that you can use.

You know what type of information you’re looking for and you've found information in the sources that meet your assignment’s requirements. After locating these sources, the next step is to make sure that what you have found is high quality information. Ask questions of your source to determine its accuracy and authority, currency, objectivity, and scope:

  • What are the author's credentials?
  • Is the material factual and unbiased?
  • Is there a copyright date?
  • What is the breadth and depth of the source's coverage of the topic?

You’ve reached the point where you have collected enough information to complete the assignment. Now you have to answer the final question of the research process: how will you present what you found? Your professor is expecting a professional submission that reflects what was requested in the assignment. Be sure to review your final product a few times before submitting it and check for misspellings and grammatical errors.