Follow these 14 steps
- Understand your assignment and start the process early.
- Leave yourself plenty of time for each step in the process. Use the Research Paper Calculator
- Formulate your question.
- Find a question that interests you.
- If you can find a topic related to your major, it could help you later on in your academic career.
- Identify the best resources (databases, search engines, etc.) to find information on your topic UMC Library Database.
- Do preliminary research to make sure your question is viable and that it fits the scope of the assignment.
- If there is a requirement for academic journals or other specific types of materials, make sure there are enough sources on your topic.
- If you don’t have enough information, you may have to change your question. If that is the case, it is best to figure this out early on.
- Refine your search question (make sure your search is narrow enough).
- Conduct an organized search for evidence for your question.
- Locate your materials. Order materials not held locally via Interlibrary Loan (ask a librarian if you need help with this).
- Sort and label the materials and create a working list of materials you can use for your paper.
- Analyze your materials.
- Organize and write the paper.
- Cite your sources and create your final bibliography using a standard format.
- Ask a friend, mentor and/or parent to proofread the paper for you. A second set of eyes is always helpful in the research process.
- Proofread it again before turning it in.
- The Writing Center can help you at ANY stage in this process!
By Owen Williams, UMN Crookston Library
Last edited October 2016 by Allison Haas, MA