Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
The Research Process
Breaking Down The Research Process
The following outline gives a simple and effective strategy for finding information for a research paper and documenting the sources you find. Depending on your topic and your familiarity with the library, you may need to rearrange or recycle these steps. Adapt this outline to your needs. We are ready to help you at every step in your research.
- Choose a topic - or have one assigned
- Understand your topic
- Background reading
- Consider a main focus
- Refine your topic
- Search Sources
- Find Books
- Find Articles
- Find Websites
- Write your paper - Informative, Analytical, Argumentative, Critical
- Cite your sources
The Thesis Statement
Although you probably started with only a broad idea of what you wanted to write about, after testing your topic and doing background reading you should be able to narrow your focus and write your thesis statement. Here are two examples of narrowing a broad topic to come up with a thesis statement:
- Vampires in Popular Culture
- The "undead" figure prominently in popular media, including literature, film & TV
- Vampire stories reflect changing societal attitudes about sexuality
- Psychology of terrorists and the motivation for terrorist acts.
- Suicide bombers are mentally unbalanced