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Research Guide: Research Process

This guide has been created to provide quick access to resources that support the research process.

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Getting Started

(Miller & Childs, 2007)

Doing effective research takes time. In order to maximize the amount of time spent on research, be sure to clarify the paper/assignment with your instructor before embarking on this task. A clear picture of what is required for the final submission is critical before beginning the research process.

Define/Clarify the Topic

In order to make the research process a rewarding and informative experience, the following guidelines are suggested:

  • Choose a familiar topic - perhaps you already knows something about a topic but would like to further analyze it in order to find out more in-depth information.
  • Choose an interesting topic - perhaps you do not know anything on a topic but would like to find out about it for personal/professional reasons. Select a topic that interests you and makes the research process more appealing.
  • Be aware of any strong beliefs/prejudices - ensure that both sides of an argument or topic are evaluated in the research process. Biases and prejudices may slip into a paper. 

There are many sources available to help you choose your topic:

  • Journals, periodicals or magazines that cover a particular field of study.
  • Excerpts from encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, or almanacs to obtain background on a topic.

(NCSU Libraries, 2014)

Students are encouraged to do a preliminary assessment of the available resources. Too much information on a topic indicates that the topic is too broad, and needs to be narrowed. Conversely, if there is not enough information available, the topic is too narrow and needs to be broadened. A topic that is too broad or narrow is very frustrating to research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have difficulty narrowing/focusing your topic, consult with your instructor or Campus Library staff for assistance.

Formulate a Topic

After a preliminary assessment of the topic has been completed, it is time to formulate the question that needs to be answered or the topic that will be covered in the research paper.

  • Articulate a specific research question (i.e. the effect of obesity in children).
  • State a specific claim (scholarly literature suggests that a healthy and balanced diet, as well as regular exercise, decreases the risk of obesity in children).
  • Support analysis with evidence.

The rest of your paper should be devoted to the explanation of the claim.

Note the deadline of the paper and budget time accordingly. Building in extra time allows for unexpected delays such as obtaining resources on interlibrary loan or visiting other libraries for information.

Consult with Campus Library staff to help you get started.

The following are 2 examples of Assignment Calculators that can help you manage your time effectively.

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