Basic Research Steps

The purpose of this page is to list and provide information on the steps typically undertaken between the time an assignment is received to the time it is handed in. Not all of these steps are applicable to all assignments, though, and some assignments require steps other than those listed here. The links point to short instructional materials prepared at UNI and other university libraries and writing centers around the U.S.

Step 1 Make sure you understand the assignment, when it is due, & what you have to do to get a good grade
 
Step 2 Select a topic, obtain background information, and broaden or narrow as necessary
 
Step 3 Write a tentative thesis statement: What are you trying to say?
 
Step 4 Develop a search strategy: What kinds of sources do you need, how will you find them?
 
Step 5 Find and evaluate books; take careful notes, keep track of sources for reference list
 
Step 6 Find and evaluate articles from academic journals, trade journals, and business and economics newspapers and magazines; take careful notes, keep track of sources for reference list
 
Step 7 Find and evaluate web sites; take careful notes, keep track of sources for reference list
 
Step 8 Write an outline or plan for your paper's overall structure
 
Step 9 Write the first draft
 
Step 10 Conduct additional research as needed, identify and fix gaps
 
Step 11 Revise and rewrite
 
Step 12 Put paper in final form to hand in
 

Last updated: October 14, 2013