Steps in the Research Process

  1. Understand your assignment and start the process early.

  2. Formulate your question.

  • Find a question that interests you.
  • If you can find a topic related to your major, it could help you later on in your academic career.

  3. Identify the best resources (databases, search engines, etc.) to find information on your topic UMC Library Database.

  4. Do preliminary research to make sure your question is viable and that it fits the scope of the assignment.

  • If there is a requirement for academic journals or other specific types of materials, make sure there are enough sources on your topic.
  • If you don’t have enough information, you may have to change your question. If that is the case, it is best to figure this out early on.

  5. Refine your search question (make sure your search is narrow enough).

  6. Conduct an organized search for evidence for your question.

  7. Locate your materials. Order materials not held locally via Interlibrary Loan (ask a librarian if you need help with this).

  8. Sort and label the materials and create a working list of materials you can use for your paper.

  9. Analyze your materials.

10. Organize and write the paper.

11. Cite your sources and create your final bibliography using a standard format

12. Ask a friend, mentor and/or parent to proofread the paper for you. A second set of eyes is always helpful in the research process.

13. Proofread it again before turning it in.

14. The Writing Center can help you at ANY stage in this process!

By Owen Williams, UMC Library
Last edited October 2016 by Allison Haas, MA