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General Research Guide

What is Research?

Research is "the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions."

- Oxford Languages

The Research Process steps in cogs. Step 1: define the topic, step 2: narrow the topic, step 3: gather background information, step 4: create a research question, step 5: develop a working thesis statement, step 6: find and evaluate sources, step 7: cite sources, step 8: write the paper

The Research Process graphic. Authored by: Kim Louie for Lumen Learning. LicenseCC BY: Attribution

For most students and researchers, this process does not stay linear. You may get to step 6 and realize your topic is too broad. You may get to step 2 and realize you don't know how to narrow your topic properly without your background information. This is why research is a process. The steps should guide your path but you are free to go back and alter the work you've done in a previous step when more information presents itself.

If you are struggling to get past one of the steps, reach out to your librarians! We are here to help you get through the research process and we can help during any step of the way.