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Step-by-Step Guide & Research Rescue: Basic Research Strategy

This guide will help you understand how to efficiently and effectively do basic research.


THIS GUIDE WILL BE UPDATED August 2020. If you are currently using the guide, find the information valuable, or would like to continue having access to it, please send your feedback to

Model for Research

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General Research Tips/Skills

Research can seem intimidating at first. For each topic, the process will be slightly different, but there are a few basic steps that can help you through the research process. By following these simple steps, you will become a research expert equipped with the skills you need to locate articles for any paper or project. Remember, research is not a rigid process; many times it is more effective to move fluidly between steps than follow them in order.

Finding and Narrowing Your Topic 
Research starts with a foundation of background knowledge and research on a particular topic. Use this research to identify key terms and concepts to narrow your topic and search terms. Click here for background resources and more information.

Finding Articles
Enter key terms and concepts into specific databases to find academic articles and other resources. Learn research tips and how to refine your results here.

Finding Books
Books can be an excellent source of vast amounts of information. Click to be connected to the Library Catalog or for more information on finding books and other print resources.

Evaluating Credibility
Academic papers require reliable sources to strengthen your arguments. Find more information on evaluating an article, book, or website's credibility here.

Accessing and Storing Your Sources
Once you have found your articles and sources, save them so you don't have to search for them all over again. Learn how here!

Citing Your Sources
Citations are a vital part of any scholarly paper or presentation. Make certain to cite your references correctly by clicking here to learn more.

Subject Guides

The library has subject specific librarians for every area of study, and those librarians have put together pages just for you! Here, you will find databases they recommend, along with reference material, websites, and various other research helps. To find topic specific databases and other resources recommended by your subject librarian, visit the subject guides!

On each subject guide, you will also find the subject librarians' contact information. If you ever feel like you could use a helping hand in finding specific articles or developing your topic, contact your subject librarian! You can send an email, give them a call, or set up an appointment to meet with them. Find your subject librarian's contact information by visiting the subject guides.

Research Tutorials

To watch helpful videos on different research skills, and to practice those skills yourself, visit the following page:

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