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Building a Library Research Strategy

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

What is this Guide for?

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!

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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