There are many models available and taught concerning how to conduct a research process. Therefore, the process presented here is only one of many; however, it is a triedand proven process. Step 1: Decide on a topic Step 2: Develop an overview of the topic Step 3: Determine the information requirements Step 4: Organize the information Step 5: Analyze and evaluate theinformation Step 6: Synthesize the information Step 7: Communicate/present the research Step 1: Decide on a topic To begin, state the research question, problem or issue. Then, develop a topic andthesis. • • • topic = a broadly defined subject area - example: effects of rain runoff formulate a question = find a narrower perspective or focus on the topic by asking a series of questions about thetopic - example: what are the effects of rain runoff in Boston Harbor? thesis statement = answer you suspect to find or points you will argue about the topic question - example: rain runoff increasespollution in Boston Harbor, endangering plant and animal wildlife
Step 2: Develop an overview of the topic This step is most often ignored, but is one of the most important. It will help you to: •• • • • develop an overview of your topic gather background information refine your topic develop a general bibliography identify additional keywords related to your topic, useful when searching foradditional topic-related information
Working from "general" to "specific" is most effective: • • get an overview of the topic by referring to general encyclopedias, such as the online EncyclopediaBritannica to learn more about the topic begin to browse the library's online catalog (OPAC) to find sources held by the library that relate to your topic
Mildred F. Sawyer Library A Research Process:Steps in the Research Process
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browse subject-based encyclopedias, handbooks and directories to begin to refine your topic - review the footnotes, endnotes and...