Carefully read your assignment sheet: What is being asked of you? How long should it be? How many and what kind of sources are appropriate?
If needed, ask your instructor for clarification.
Think about your interests and what you would like to learn more about. Use brainstorming to generate ideas.
Before jumping into research, do a little “pre-searching” to get background information. Learn more about your topic using Wikipedia or an encyclopedia for a general overview
*Wikipedia is not a source to cite in your paper, it’s just to help you learn and brainstorm your topic.
Narrow your focus to match the scope of your assignment. What are you attempting to answer? A research project is not a report on facts, but a more complex exploration of an issue. A strong research question can guide your thinking, research, and writing processes as you carry out the rest of your research.
Find (and save) relevant sources as you explore your research question. Use library search tools or Google Scholar to find sources. Have questions? Not finding the right sources? Ask your librarian!
Evaluate your relevant search results in order to select the most appropriate sources for your project. Are your sources credible? How well do they address your research question(s)? How will you use each source in your project? Take notes as you read.
You may need to repeat these steps several times. Through trial and error, you will find the most relevant and appropriate sources. It’s also acceptable – and expected! – for your research question to evolve. You may learn something about your topic that takes you in a slightly different direction.
Repeat these steps until you feel confident outlining your project.
Organize your thinking by grouping similar ideas and mapping out the structure of your project.
Ex: Introduction and purpose/thesis, Idea A, Idea B, Idea C, etc., and Conclusion.
Write a first draft! This can be an intimidating step – know that you can revise and re-write this draft.
The revision process may include reconsidering your arguments, re-organizing, reviewing your evidence/sources, and refining your grammar. Schedule a consultation with the Writing Center (consultations must be scheduled two days in advance).
A final, but very important step! Look for any final corrections to be made, and format it in the way your instructor requested.