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The Research Process: The Research Process | Getting Started



Understanding your assignment

What is the final product?  A speech/oral presentation?  Video/media project?  Research paper?  Lab report?  Primary sources research project? Poster?  Other?

What is the task of your assignment (define, describe, explain, research, relate, compare, analyze, prove, etc.)?  Who is your audience? What kind of writing style is required?

What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?  Identify your information need and acceptable source types

Ask your professor if you have any questions about the assignment

Developing a topic

Find a topic

Gather background info

Narrow and refine (sometimes broaden)

Concept mapping

How to Develop a Good Research Topic from Kansas State University Libraries

Concept Mapping Tutorial from Biblio uOttowa Library

TOOLS for Getting Started

Assignment Calculators/Planners & Understanding Your Assignment

post it notes

Image from Giorgio Montersino via Flickr


Sources for Gathering Background Info

chipmunk gathering nuts

Image from playlight55 via Flickr

  • Your class notes and textbook
  • Professional or scholarly websites/publications in your field
  • Check out these online research guides for reference resources in your academic area for getting started with research 

Concept (or Mind) Mapping Tools

mindmap or concept map


topic daisy