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Getting Started

Some thoughts on research…  Research is not a linear process. It is a matter of trying, evaluating and learning from the results, refining your strategy, trying again, and exploring possibilities. It should be fun - finding new information and thinking about what that might mean for your topic. 

This list is not meant to be taken literally as a strict procedure; instead these are questions to keep in mind as you do your research. 

  1. What discipline or disciplines am I working in?
  2. What sources do I already have?
    • Do they mention other sources of information or data (bibliography)?
    • Do they use specific terminology or wording?
    • Do they talk about particular places, people, or agencies?
  3. What type of literature or information do I need?
    • Who might collect and/or publish that information?
    • Who would be interested in it?
  4. How and where will I search for the information I need?
  5. How will I access the information that I find?
  6. What keywords or terms could be used to describe my topic?
  7. After running a few searches: What results am I getting?  Am I getting too many results?  Too few?
  8. What refinements should I make to my search in light of those results?
  9. How will I use the results that I've found?
  10. What information am I still missing?

Remember also that the librarians are here to help.

Selected Reference Works

Begin your research with reference works to find background information, definitions, locate statistics and facts, and build a bibliography.