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How to Research

Research and Writing

How to Research


Select a topic or general area of interest.

  • Consider your interests.
  • Browse through magazines, textbooks, or encyclopedias.

Gather general information.

  • Check the Library catalog for books.
  • Use Library databases to find articles.

Focus your topic.

  • Browse the books and articles you've found.
  • Do some preliminary note-taking.
  • Look for repeated themes or ideas.
  • Select one area to use for your assignment.

Do more in-depth research.

  • Use the Library catalog and databases to find addtional information on the specific topic.
  • Read through the materials and take notes.
  • Organize the notes.
  • Look for gaps or topics that need more information. If needed, return to the Library to gather more information.

How to Write a Paper

How to Write a Paper



  • Develop your thesis statement, or the main point of the paper.
  • If you are writing a research paper, look through your notes to see if your information supports your thesis.

Outline your paper.

  • Your paper will need:
    • An Introduction, which includes your thesis statement
    • Body paragraphs, each with one main idea
    • A Conclusion to tie your arguments together and give readers something more to think about
  • Decide what the main topic for each of the body paragraphs will be.

Write the rough draft.

  • Include citations if needed.
  • Follow your outline.
  • Just write. Remember, it's a rough draft. Get the ideas out on paper and fix them later.

Get feedback from others.

  • Have someone else read and critque your paper.
  • You can ask:
    • Parents
    • Friends
    • Your school writing lab

Proofread and Revise.

  • Read your paper out loud.
  • Also try reading it backwards; this helps you focus on individual words and sentences, rather than the whole paper at once.
  • Look for spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes.
  • Decide if the paper flows logically and if the points support the thesis.

For more information about research and writing a paper, visit these websites:

Research and Writing - Step by Step

Revision Strategies


For information about citing sources, see the Citing Sources page