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HELP! I have a research paper!

Suggestions on how to do productive research.

Get Organized!

You have your topic, and you need to start your research.  You need to locate, investigate and evaluate sources of information. Before you write a single word you must organize yourself!

Keep track of your searches, your sources, and how you use them in your writing.  Remember that you will need to sort out your own ideas from those you read… keep track of this from the beginning Keep track of your sources NOW so you save time and frustration at the end when you have to write your bibliography or List of Works Cited.

Searching for information

Database searching is different from using Google.  Databases use keywords or phrases, combined with the words AND and OR.

Know how to come up with the best keywords.  Use synonyms and related terms  

Know how to combine keywords in your searches using AND/OR. 



  • Know which information you can get on the web (great government info!) and which is more effectively found in a database (peer-reviewed articles!) 
  • Do you know about the Advanced Google search, which is very cool?  Perfect for finding government documents!  A librarian can help you with this. You can also get instructions here.

TIP: Meet with a librarian

Meet with a librarian one-on-one to get ideas about keywords and search strategies.  They can also show you tricks to organize your research online, including tracking your citations.

Drop by the Reference & Research Help Desk or make an appointment for a personal consultation.