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Home: The Research Process

Research Skill Builders

Below you will find links to the most commonly accessed Research Skill Builders.  If you would like to explore more and take your skills even further, check out:

Getting Started

Research is a process.  Taking some time upfront to orient yourself and plan out your approach can help make the process easier and you a more effective researcher!  Want to learn more about the research process?  Watch the video below and then move on to learn more about your next steps!


Choosing your Topic

For many of your assignments you will have the ability to choose the topic of your research.  So where do you begin? The ideas listed below may help you to get started:

  • Brainstorm!  Write what you know, or would like to know, about the topic
  • Locate and read a source that presents a topic overview to help build background knowledge
  • List possible preliminary research questions: What do you want to learn?
  • State preliminary topic, statement of purpose, thesis statement, or hypothesis

Review the video linked for help with narrowing down your ideas once you have completed the brainstorming.

You may also find the tools available in the two databases below helpful as you work to narrow down your ideas.

Defining your Research Question or Thesis Statement

Questions are an important foundation for any research process, and a good research question will help shape and direct your research and your writing.  While you can start your research with any question, putting some time in upfront to consider and develop a research question or thesis statement can really pay off!

Unsure where to start?

  • Review the video linked below for a review on thesis statements‚Äč

and then

  • review the document linked below for help with developing a research question! 

Choosing your Keywords

Before you can begin searching it is important to identify the keywords and terms that will help produce the results you are looking for.

Well chosen Keywords will help you to obtain an increased rate of relevant results.  There are a number of ways to help identify keywords:

  • From your Thesis or Research Question - Identify the nouns that are most descriptive of your topic use these as your starting keywords.

  • From the thesaurus - Seek terms that are similar to your nouns that both broaden and narrow your focus. 

  • From other research - Review keywords listed in research articles and those listed in print sources.  

Review the video linked below for more tips!