Choosing a topicand refining your thesis can be one of the most difficult aspects of writing a research paper.
Don't be discouraged. Feeling uncertain about how to begin is a typical reaction: your research process can help you with this.
Get background information you can trust.
Use the online encyclopedias linked from this guide for solid information written by experts.
When deciding where to seach for articles, think: who would have written something about my topic?
Explore multidisciplinary databases like Academic Search Premier and JSTOR to find out which disciplines generate research on your topic.
Go deeper by selecting article databases by DISCIPLINE to get the most targeted results. (See the "ARTICLES" tab above for more info...)
When you are researching, remember to stop and READ.
What have more experienced scholars written related to your topic?
How are their papers structured? Pay attention to both the content and structure of the articles or book chapters that you find as you do your research.
ASK FOR HELP if you need to. (Contact me, Jean Caspers at email@example.com, and/or see the ASK QUESTIONS tab above ... )
Getting Around in this Research Guide
This set of pages can be navigated using the TABS along the top.
The ENCYCLOPEDIAS tab links to information and recommendations about online and print (book) reference works.
The BOOKS tab links to our library catalog for finding and obtaining books in our library and our sister libraries in the Northwest, and beyond.
The ARTICLES tab links to our research databases for periodicals (magazines and journals) for scholarly and other types of articles.
The INTERNET RESOURCES page contains tips for evaluating sources you find on the open web.
The INTERLIBRARY LOAN tab links to search engine suggestions for web sites as well as evaluative considerations to use when searching the open web to support academic work.
The CITING SOURCES tab links to guidance for APA, MLA and other citation styles, as well as information and links to various citation generators.
The HEIRLOOM PROJECT class may remind you of the research journal project we did at the beginning of the semester
The ASK QUESTIONS tab links you to library Reference and Research staff who can help you if you have "large or small" questions about your research or library services.