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Research Process: Home

Adapted from a 2002 Sonoma State University Research Process tutorial, Red Deer College LibGuide, and

About this Guide

Research lends credibility to your own thoughts and ideas.

This guide will help you with the steps in the research process.

Each part of the guide reviews a different research skill and explains specific search tools at Eva B. Dykes Library.

"The ability to research--that is, to explore a problem systematically--is a crucial skill." 
From: Hult, C. A. (2003). The new century handbook. Toronto: Longman. p. 158.


  • Define Your Topic: Thoroughly understand what you are being asked to do and define your topic to meet the requirements of your assignment.

  • Develop a Plan for your Research: Develop a strategy or  plan to guide you. Figure out what kinds of information and how much information you need to answer your research question. Make a search strategy by creating a list of search words.

  • Find the Information You Need: Find and retrieve information to use in your research assignment. This involves finding the books, articles, statistics, websites, and other resources to support your research idea.

  • Synthesize, Cite and Present Your Information: You've gathered your information, now begin putting it all together. Here are tips to help you organize this process, examples for citing sources correctly, ideas for presentation formats.

Read Your Assignment

The first step of any assignment is to read it thoroughly and note any specific requirements:

  • Type of assignment (report, critique, essay, analysis, presentation)
  • Number of resources
  • Types of resources (articles, books, videos, etc.)
  • Citation format (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.)

Keep Notes

A useful strategy to manage your research is to keep notes as you go. Take clear, accurate notes about where you found specific ideas, and, as you consult sources and make notes, keep a list of the sources you used.

There are many ways that you can keep notes to manage your research and citations more easily:

  • Use index cards or a notebook.
  • Use a word processor document.

Learn More

Check out these tutorials for an overview or more in-depth instruction on the research process as a whole:

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