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WRIT 110 College Writing: Research Process

Research Process

This short video provides an overview of the research process. If you have questions during your research journey, just ask a librarian! We are here to help you!

Research Process Overview

1. Define the Research Question
  •    Select Topic
  •    Obtain a general overview
  •    Narrow to Research Question
2. Create a Research Plan
  •    Seek help from your professor
  •    Seek help from a librarian
3. Locate Resources
  •    Identify types of appropriate resources
  •    Identify tools for accessing resources
4. Use effective Search Techniques
  •    Use effective search strategies for tools
  •    Read tool "helps" or talk with a librarian
5. Read Critically, Synthesize, and Seek Meaning
  •    Determine a note-talking strategy
  •    Determine citation management strategy
6. Evaluate Sources
  • Determine authority, accuracy, objectivity and relevance
7. Begin Writing Process


Information Cycle

The information cycle is important to consider when deciding what resources will be available on your topic and which ones will be the most useful.  View this short video from University of Central Florida to understand how the information cycle impacts the material available on your topic.

Research Terms

Writing & Research Glossary

Abstract – brief summary; describes what the article is about.

Annotated Bibliography – list of resources with summaries.

Bibliographic Information – describes source by listing its elements (title, author, publisher, date, etc.).

Bibliography – list of all resources cited in a paper.

Catalog – compilation of things.  In a library, the catalog is a collection of records that describe the material available in and through the library. A catalog is a type of database.

Cite – make reference to or refer to.

Citation - reference to a published or unpublished source; refers the reader to the source of the writer’s information.

Citation Style Guide - standardized system for citing materials used when writing books or papers, such as APA or MLA; formatting rules for citations or reference lists.

Criticism – analysis or interpretation of a work; reasoned judgment against established criteria.

Database – organized body of knowledge; searchable.

Deductive Reasoning – logical thinking that begins with a generalization and then draws conclusions about specifics.  (Ex: All the dogs at the humane society get their shots.  Harvey is a dog from the Humane society therefore he must have had his shots.)

DOI – Digital Object Identifier.   It is a permanent and unique combination of numbers and letters, assigned by the publisher of a work, which can be used to locate an article wherever it is available online. Example: DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.15.2752   To find a doi on the web, go to this link and type the doi in the search box.

Full text – Entire article is available for access from a database

   Linked Full text – Full text of an article is available in another licensed database

   Check for Full Text – Full text may be available in another licensed database

Index – List in the back of a book   An index lists the major concepts, people, and ideas with corresponding page numbers.

Inductive Reasoning – Reasoning or logical thinking that begins with a specific piece of information and then generalizes to a concept or generalization.  (That dog has a tail.  I see a number of dogs with tails.  Therefore, all dogs must have tails.)

Peer Review - is the evaluation of work or research by other people in the same field in order to maintain or enhance the quality of the work or perferomance in that field.  

Periodical – Publication that is issued periodically or at fixed intervals.   Examples are newspapers, journals, magazines, and newsletters.

Primary Source- Material that is closest to the person, event, or time frame being studied.  This material might include: first person accounts, eye witness testimony, diaries, speeches, letters, interviews, newspapers, news footage, smart-phone video, autobiographies and official records including government publications, legislation, and court reports.

Qualitative Research - is an inductive research process involving the collection and analysis of non-numerical data to search for patterns or themes. Types of qualitative research are:  case studies, observations, focus groups, and open ended surveys or questionnaires.

Quantitative Research – is a deductive research process involving the collection and analysis of numerical data to identify statistical relationships between the variables. Types of quantitative research are:  polls, surveys, experiments, and structured questionnaires.

Review – A literature review summarizes the current published information about a topic or event. A book review tells what a book is about, the audience it would appeal to, and how this particular material fits with other material already published about this topic or in this genre. Peer Review is a specific academic process in which scholarly articles are reviewed by peers before being published in a journal. 

Secondary Source –a document, book, report, biography, recording, etc. that relates or discusses information originally presented elsewhere.  It might also include interpretation or analysis of original or primary source material.

Thesaurus –A book or database containing a list of synonyms for words and concepts. 

Sources Consulted: