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Anything you observe, study, survey, analyze, or gather is "research."

Choosing a Topic
Finding and Evaluating Sources
How to Read
Qualitative vs Quantitative
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The Research Process

Often, students think of research as a linear process: decide on a topic, gather information on the topic, repeat back the gathered information. But research can often be more than that!

Instead, research is an iterative and messy process.

  • Good research should start with a question(s) about a topic, and gathering information should be in pursuit of discovering answers.

As you read about a topic your reading will lead to more questions, and you may need to revise your initial question and theories.

Research is Synthesis

Ultimately, as you learn about the conversation surrounding the topic, you will synthesize the information you’ve read about and produce something new, including your own part of the academic discussion. It’s not uncommon to experience some frustration along the way, yet the research process is one of the most important parts about your paper. Research helps you establish credibility, relevance, and believability, and it gives you the power to convince. Without it, you will sound uninformed, and your paper will lack substance.

So where do you start?

  1. First, start with gathering background information. Do some preliminary searching to understand the general conversation along with the different aspects of the subject. Consider who may be impacted by your topic, what about the topic interests you, and where your topic is a concern.
  2. When you have an idea about the general conversation around your topic, it’s time to start finding sources that will help your paper specifically. There are many ways to do this. The HBLL website has many great places to start, and research assistants can be helpful to find credible sources.
  3. Once you’ve got your sources, using them effectively in your writing is up to you. Regardless of how convincing your research is, the way you use it is what will engage and persuade your audience.

Key note: The specific pieces of research that you choose to quote work together with your commentary on those specific pieces of evidence to create a convincing argument. Quoting big blocks of others’ writing isn’t always the most effective, but if you do decide to include a large block quote, your commentary should be meaningful enough that such a large chunk of another’s writing was worth. Oftentimes, though, paraphrasing research or quoting only small snippets of specific research is the best way to incorporate your resources into your paper.

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Finding and Evaluating Sources

July 25, 2023 11:56 AM

Finding and Evaluating Sources

July 25, 2023 11:56 AM

How to Read a Scholarly Article

July 25, 2023 11:59 AM

Want to learn about Refworks?

July 25, 2023 11:57 AM

Are you ready to meet with a Writing Center Consultant? Here are some questions we can help you with:

  • Am I doing more than just summarizing my research?
  • How do I start doing preliminary research?
  • Is my topic narrow enough?
  • How should I organize my paper?
  • Am I effectively using my research to support my thesis?
Check out these additional resources!

  1. Suny Empire-
  2. OWL
  3. Formatting:
  4. Research Starter Guide: Come here for some tutorials on how to use different HBLL databases.
  5. RefWorks:
  6. Subject Guides: This is a link to the page on HBLL that can help you find resources
  7. Ulrichs Web: You can check for peer-reviewed journals here
  8. YSearch: Here are some modules on using databases and keywords