How to research
After you read this introduction, hover over the Research button (black and white) above to see an index of resources).
ASK A TEACHER
Begin with your teacher's expectations for your project. Mrs. Morehead provides a great resource every year to her students which may help any student. Check with your own teacher for more specific details and advice.
Read broadly on your topic. Encyclopedias? Not usually cited in a final project, but essential for background. Books are also excellent resources.
Most importantly, items in a book format (table of contents, chapters, indexes) whether print or online will help you develop a cohesive overview of topics that might interest you.
DEVELOP YOUR THESIS STATEMENT
Work with your teacher to make sure you are on the right track. Avoid writing a report on a topic. Try to go deeper. Click here to learn about one process of developing the thesis statement.
LOCATE AND EVALUATE RESOURCES A.K.A. ASK A LIBRARIAN
A great first step is simply to ASK. Send us a request for reliable resources by clicking here. A good rule of thumb is to start early. You need time to review and evaluate your resources. The process of doing this WILL lead you to revise and re-think your thesis statement.
The following links deal primarily with evaluating websites, but you can apply them to any source. HINT: usually the sources provided by our library have already been reviewed for overall quality. You just have to decide if they help you develop your argument.
MAKE NOTES AND GATHER CITATION INFORMATION
If you take great notes and ALWAYS collect citation information, your paper will write itself.
Don't have a note taking system yet? Learn Cornell notes. Then, learn how to synthesize your notes to support your thesis statement and develop a structure for your paper.
Always put quotes around words that are not your own.
Try to "tag" what you quote with a brief concept word. Always be summarizing and reflecting.
Don't force a quote to fit your argument.
As a final reflective step, try to link different sources that refer to similar concepts. Always be synthesizing.
Be willing to revise your thesis statement.
WRITE THE PAPER
Have great notes? The paper will unfold easily.
Check with your teacher for final formatting. If you need help with MLA 8 format, click here.
Feel free to ask a librarian for help with other styles. Send us a request for help by clicking here