Get Started Researching
Need help getting started with your library research process? We've outlined the research process steps below. We also have guides on using the library and researching specific topics.
Step 1. Choose a Research Topic & Make a Plan
- Use these resources to choose a topic:
- Credo Reference - your results will include a concept mind map, which can help you explore related and more-detailed topics.
- Topic Development (PDF) & Coming Up With Your Topic (from UNCW Writing Center)
- Plan your work schedule using the Assignment Calculator at UMN.
Step 2. Find Background Information
- Use these resources to explore your topic:
- You can also look for subject encyclopedias by searching the Library Catalog (e.g. search for encyclopedia and psychology)
Step 3. Develop a Search Strategy
- View a tutorial on Basic Keyword Searching
- Develop your search strategy using the "My Research Strategy" tool
- Not sure about your search strategy? Get help from a librarian.
Step 4. Find Books and Articles
- View a tutorial about the search box on the Randall Library website
- Search for books and articles using the search box on the Randall Library website
- Search subject specific databases
- Get items from other libraries
Step 5. Evaluate Your Sources
- View a tutorial on popular / scholarly / trade publications (5 min)
- View a tutorial on evaluating information (3.5 min)
- Review Steps 1 through 6 if necessary to find additional, or different, information
Step 6. Cite your Sources
- Use these resources to cite your sources properly and avoid plagarism:
- Citation & Bibliography Help
- How to Recognize Plagiarism (self-paced module)
- Make an appointment for citation assistance with the UNCW Writing Center
Step 7. Write Your Paper & Get Peer Feedback
- How to create outlines, write drafts, and other writing guidelines (from UNCW Writing Center)
- Make an appointment with the UNCW Writing Center
Plan your writing assignment!
Try the Assignment Calculator at UMN. It will help you learn useful steps to complete on both the writing and research parts of your project.
My Research Strategy
The "My Research Strategy" tool will walk you through the steps of creating a research strategy for your specific topic.
Advanced Research Tools
Endnote Basic - An online citation management and citation style helper
Zotero - An online citation management and citation style helper
Alert Services - Get alerts when new articles on your topic are published