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Writing a Research Paper  

Tools, tips, tricks and a plan to write a quality paper.
Last Updated: Dec 4, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Home Print Page

Search Gale Virtual Reference Library


Search ProQuest


Library Catalog

Check our catalog for resources


Sweet Search Engine


Google Books

Google Scholar



 Spam free Searching. Tablet/iPad, Smart Phone app called izik. 


Basic Research Steps

1. Task Definition:

  •  Define your assignment & identify information needed to complete it. Restate the assignment in your own word

2.  Information Seeking Strategies:

  • Brainstorm all possible resources for your research.
  • Consider both print and digital resources (check with your librarian)
  • Select sources that will best answer your research question. 

3.  Location & Access:

  • Locate sources with the most relevant information --- Beyond Google! 
  • Organize the information you find by creating a Source List (include URLs & copyright information) Use Noodle Tools or Evernote!
  • Use keywords when searching
  • Use AND, OR and NOT in your search terms to broaden or narrow your searches. 

4.  Use of Information:

  • Read, listen to, or look at the information you've found.  Find the information you need and take careful notes (Noodle Tools or Evernote work very well for notes, Source Lists, working bibliographies. Evernote works very well for capturing screenshots or clips of information on a website. Yolink is a fantastic tool for quickly finding sections of text (in ebooks,  websites or databases) that are pertinant to your research using keywords!) 
  • Extract all the most important information to use for your paper and begin organizing it in meaningful ways. Noodle Tools offers notecards as well. Create an account and it stores all your information.

5.   Synthesis: 

  • Organize the information from multiple sources and begin to put it into a outline
  • Begin rough draft of your paper or your performance
  • Create a final copy of your paper, PowerPoint, project & include a works cited page. 

6.   Evaluation: 

  • Judge your final product. What went well? Why? What would you do differently next time?
  • Judge your research process. What worked? Which tools were best and why? What was hard? What did you learn about researching?

The Big 6 Research Steps: Berkowitz & Eisenberg


Database Tutorial

A few basics

  • Broaden your search - separate your search terms with OR.
  • Narrow your search - separate your search terms with AND.
    Note: By default, ProQuest assumes an AND relationship between your search terms.
  • Advanced Search - look for terms in specific fields used to index documents in ProQuest.
  • Target your search more precisely - move your cursor over the Advanced Search link to display a menu of other advanced search methods:
  • Publication Search - browse issues of a newspaper, journal, or magazine -- or search for articles in a specific publications.
  • Phrase searching - look for phrases by enclosing them in quotation marks, for example, "healthy eating".
  • Word variants - to retrieve only a particular variant of a word, such as colour but not color, enter the word in quotation marks in the search box, for example: "colour".
  • Limit your search - select available limiter check boxes such as Full text orPeer-reviewed to focus your search.
    Note: Available limiters vary by database and search method. 

How ProQuest interprets your search

You can search by entering words into a search box without specifying search fields. When you do:

  • ProQuest will retrieve documents containing all your search terms, appearing in any field (document titles, authors, subjects, full text, etc.).
    For example, a search on healthy eating is the same as a search forhealthy AND eating. The search will not retrieve results with just the wordhealthy or just the word eating. ProQuest will look for the terms healthyand eating in all fields.
  • Note: If your account does not search full text by default, a notice to that effect displays above the Basic Search box. 

Purpose of Research

Sources within your research paper are evidence, not points! They prove your point and enhance your findings.


Research from A-Z

Pencils carved by Dalton M. Ghetti

Virtual Inquiry

 Information Age Inquiry

Information literacy standards for student learning, indicators for student performance, and hundreds of collaborative lesson plans around the country give us some indication of the skills students are expected to master as effective and efficient users of information. Hopefully the goal is that all involved in information literacy education become wiser consumers of information. In mastering the elements of information inquiry, teachers and school librarians acting as instructional specialists model, teach and learn with their students the best ways to test and select information that is valid and relevant to solve information problems.


    5 Steps to Better Research

    From Colorado State University Library - a tutorial on how to begin research - broken down to easy steps.

  Board on Writing Informative or Expository Texts


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