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Research & Write a Paper

A guide to help you through your research methods class or other semester-long research projects.

Getting Started

Purpose of this Guide

The purpose of this guide is to help you through the basic steps for a major research project.  Each "tab" will help you through various parts of the process.  The basic steps are:

  1. Planning your process.
  2. Choosing a topic.
  3. Writing the Research Questions.
  4. Library Resources (and tutorials on the pages).
  5. Human Participants (the Institutional Review Board).
  6. Doing the Literature Revew.
  7. Help with Bibliography/Works Cited pages.
  8. Refining/Revising your Writing.
  9. A Final Checklist.
  10. Copyright Information.
  11. Additional Internet Resources.
  12. Bibliography of Helpful Books available in the Library.
  13. Live Help and Contacts Directory.

Plan Ahead

Your paper should have a purpose, a point or, to use the ever scary word, a thesis. Prove or disprove your point with evidence from your research (ex. Germany lost World War II because Hitler’s expansionist vision spiraled out of control toward the end of the war).

Find research that will answer a question (ex. Could the impact of the Great Depression have been lessened if specific economic remedies had been employed by Congress?).

Helpful Links for Getting Started

  • Inspiration
    Available on every campus computer listed under programs, usually education and visually impaired.
    You can download a free trial directly from the website. Useful for mapping your research ideas and topics to develop a search strategy.
  • Electronic planners can prevent a researcher from feeling overwelmed and assist them in sequential planning.
    One example is Franklin Covey planner.
  • Assignment Calculator
    A program you can use to help set a schedule for your project.  From the University of Minnesota.
  • The Online Writing Lab from Purdue University has an extensive set of resources for helping you get started through the final product.

Original Authors

This guide was orginally created as a collaborative effort by the following individuals:

Jennifer Little Kegler, M.L.S., Librarian
Lori Lampert, M.L.S., Librarian
Jason Dauenhauer, PhD, Social Work
Betsy Balzano, PhD., Education and Human Development
Moira Fallon, PhD., Education and Human Development
Don Halquist, PhD., Education and Human Development
Robert Dobmeier, PhD., Counselor Education

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2022 3:55 PM


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Jennifer Little Kegler
Drake Library, rm. 120 (Main Floor)
Skype Contact: jjlibrarian