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Research Process: Research Process

Conducting research is a multi-step process. This guide will teach you how to conduct effective and efficient research.

The Research Process

The research process involved when conducting research can seem overwhelming.  It is a thought process and requires you to evaluate sources, use critical thinking, and use organizational skills.

There are many ways to find print and digital information in the Library Media Center and online.  The Library Media Specialist is here to help guide you through the research process. We can help you find resources like print and digital information, books, magazines, and newspapers.  If you need help in your search for information, then feel free to ask for help. The tutorials on the left hand side of the page will help guide you through the research process. The Writer's Handbook provided by The Writing Center at UW Madison and The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University are also good resources to learn about how to write a research paper.

Research Tutorials

Scholarly Articles vs. Popular Magazine Articles

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Tool to Access Paywalled Research Articles

Unpaywall is a Chrome and Firefox extension that allows users to get access to free and legal full-text research articles and papers. When you find a paywalled research article, Unpaywall runs an automatic search to look for a copy of the article. If found, you will be able to access and read it.

Where to I begin researching?

Conducting research is an extensive multi-step process. The steps are:

  1. Read the assignment carefully
    • Get to the guts of what the assignment is asking you to do
  2. Stop and think: brainstorm what you already know about the topic and what you need to find out. Try filling out a KWL Chart.
  3. Ask yourself what you want to find out about the general topic and then limit it to a specific topic.
    • Choose a topic and make sure it is not too broad or too narrow.
    • Do some preliminary research if necessary
  4. Turn the topic into a research (thick) question or thesis statement.
    • A "thick" question is open-ended.
    • Requires a multi-word thoughtful and reflective answer
    • Not a yes or no answer
    • Usually start with “why” or “how”
    • Give you lots and lots to say and think about
  5. Formulate a search strategy
    • Create and find keywords
      • Click on the "Keywords" tab at the topic of this guide to find out more about keywords.
    • Prepare a list of possible sources
      • Think about
        • What resources will you need to locate
        • What you want the articles to be about
        • Where can you locate the resources (the library {physical and digital}, online, etc.)
      • Books, magazines, journals, newspapers, primary sources, secondary sources, online databases, videos, experiments, interviews, observations, graphs, statistics, charts, maps, etc.
      • Remember, if you research using a search engine (i.e. Google), then you must perform a website evaluation on every website you use.
  6. Evaluate resources and decide if additional resources are necessary
    • Conducting only one keyword search is never considered sufficient!
    • Be ready to examine multiple perspectives
    • You will get more relevant and reliable results using online databases over using a search engine.
      • Remember: Search engines are the least efficient and most time consuming. Many of the results may be unreliable.
    • Keep track of all the keywords you used when researching.
    • Keep track of the websites you used and if they were good or bad.
  7. Take notes, document, and cite all evidence
    • Summarize, paraphrase, or quote your sources
  8. Outline your research paper
    • Outlining will help keep your research focused
  9. Prepare to write your paper or present the information
    • Start with your research question or thesis statement
    • Organize your notes
    • Decide on a writing style format
      • Types of research papers include: analytical, rhetorical, case studies, cause and effect, compare and contrast, chronological order, identify and describe, classify, persuasive, and concept with examples
  10. Write the research paper or present the information (plan, write, revise, edit, rewrite)
    • Make sure the research paper has:
      • A clear introduction to grab the audience's attention and present the thesis statement
      • An argument or relate the ideas to the thesis statement
      • A conclusion that restates the main idea and main arguments, make predictions, call to action, etc.
    • Provide documentation to support your argument
    • Cite your sources
      • Go to the Citing Sources Guide for more information on how to cite correctly
    • Proofread and spell check

How to Find a Book in the TRHS LMC

When searching LMC resources use:

  • Broad (general) terms (keywords)
  • Boolean operators ("and", "not", and especially "or")
  • Search terms scholars would use

Books in the TRHS LMC

Library Media Specialist

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Deana Collins
Two Rivers High School
4519 Lincoln Ave.
Two Rivers, WI 54241
(920) 793-2291 ext: 6500

L. B. Clarke Middle School
4608 Bellevue Place
Two Rivers, WI 54241
(920) 794-1614 ext: 4600