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Building a Library Research Strategy: Home

This guide will help students develop a research strategy for finding information for papers or projects.

What is this Guide for?

Hello!   Need to start a research paper or project?

At SVC there are many options where you can find relevant, credible sources for your papers. 

This guide will take you through the steps of how to find topics, gather sources, evaluate sources, cite your work, and ultimately, provide a well-researched, well-written project or paper!

Navigate this guide (click or use the top tabs):

Library Help



MOUNT VERNON Campus Library Hours:

On-campus & remote: M & Th  9 am - 4 pm
On-campus & remote: Tu & W  9 am - 7 pm
On-campus & remote: Friday 9 am - 12 pm

WHIDBEY ISLAND Campus Library Hours:

On-campus & remote: M,W,Th 9 am - 4 pm / Tu 9 am - 6 pm
Remote only: Friday 9 am - 12 pm

The libraries are closed Friday - Saturday

For more information, see our:

The SVC Libraries on the Mount Vernon and Whidbey Island campuses will continue to provide resource distribution to all students and visitors.

Unvaccinated students who have not applied for an exemption can come to the libraries to check out resources, but may not access any other library spaces.

Campus Covid-19 Information

Research Pathway

This list describes the general pathway to writing a research paper. Keep in mind...this is not a linear process but a messy and meandering path to a satisfying result!

  • Select a Topic > Begin with an idea and ask some questions about it
  • Find Background Information > Poke around a little...gain some understanding of your topic
  •  Refine Your Topic > Narrow or broaden your topic, think about the themes, people, or time frames you are interested in. Maybe even create a research question or a thesis statement!
  • Create Keywords or Search terms > Decide your first search terms or keywords (these may change later on!) 
  • Think about where to look > Think about the best place to start your search, whether it's using the library catalog, databases, Internet, and other resources to find articles, books, & high-quality materials for your paper 
  • Evaluate Information > Is what you found really the best source for your requirements?
  • Adjust, Refine, Review, Reflect & Look again! > Sometimes a little more searching is necessary
  • Write & Cite > Begin the writing process, making sure to cite your sources as you go
  • Review, Reflect, Refine, Write & Cite some more! > Writing and research and evaluating often happen at the same time
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