Skip to Main Content

Research FAQs: The Research Process

Answering Students' Most Asked Library Questions

Reference Works

Reference Works: Short, authoritative articles that are non-technical and have full bibliographies.  These are good to read when you do not have much experience with the topic you are researching.

Books & Scholarly Journals

Books & Scholarly Journals: In-depth articles with more detailed information about the topic.

Where to start:  

Research GuidesA-Z Databases (listed by subject) and Library Search Box

Magazines & Newspapers

Magazines, Newspapers: contemporary overviews and public opinion regarding your topic at a given time.

Where to start:

Library Search BoxIssues and Controversies database and News & Newspapers

Putting it all together

  1. Choose a topic–Consult reference works to build a foundation of essential ideas and search terms.
  2. Formulate a specific research question–This is the single focus of your research.
  3. Formulate a hypothesis–This is your educated guess that answers the specific research question.
  4. Identify questions–These are questions that must be answered to test and validate this hypothesis.
  5. Answer questions and revise the hypothesis–Consult books and scholarly journals. These resources, along with magazines and newspapers, will shed light on what both the academic community and public audience thinks of the topic formulated in the hypothesis
  6. Craft a thesis–By now you should have enough information to write your thesis statement defining what you will discuss in your paper
  7. Support the thesis–Use the library resources you found along the way.

Research Paper