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RES104: Introduction to Research Writing: Research Process

Why is the research process important? First off, each person's is unique to them. This class is about identifying that process, practicing it, and tweaking and improving it to make it more effective and efficient. But first we need to learn about what parts of that process should always exist in your process. This process will be useful for projects, papers, presentations, speeches, etc. 

Step 1: Graphics

Check out these example research process maps drawn by some of our librarians - no two are exactly the same!

   

Step 2: Video

Research Process The research process is generally made up of these key stages. Keep in mind, you may need to go back to certain stages multiple time, or you may approach them in a different way. Research is not always linear – figure out what works for you! Stage 1:  Topic Selection.  Exploring topic through background reading.  Narrowing topic. Forming research question Stage 2: Finding Sources. Come up with a list of keywords. Search article databases, the library catalog, and the internet. Gather sources that help answer your research question. Stage 3: Reading and Filtering. Read sources and take notes on important points. Look for patterns. Identify evidence that answers your research question. Keep track of where your evidence comes from.  Stage 4: Writing. Organize claims and evidence into outline. Form thesis statement – this is the answer to your research question. Write a draft. Use proper citation style. Stage 5: Editing and revising. Have someone else read a draft. Add additional evidence. Adjust argument structure. Check spelling, grammar, and citations. Turn it in!

Step 3: Activity

Now it's time for you to create your own research process. It must include all five stages listed above. Expand on each stage and get specific about what you do in each stage. Where do you work on these things? When? Is it a specific time each day? Or all at once? Do you procrastinate? If so when, and what stage of the process? 

The more specific and truthful you are in drawing or creating your own, the better you'll get to know it during the semester and learn how to be more efficient.

As an extra challenge, identify one part of the process you want to improve this semester, and come up with a concrete idea for how to address it. For example, you want to procrastinate less. Your solution can't just be procrastinate less. Come up with a concrete way to do that like locking your phone in the locking charger in the library while you work, or having a friend or parent act as an accountability buddy.