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ENG 7 (Vanderhoof) - Responses to Injustice: Getting Started

Getting Started

Research projects can be intimidating, but it helps to have a plan of action in place.  Breaking it down by steps, even if you go back and forth between the steps a few times, can make the process seem much less overwhelming.  

To the right is a basic list of the steps involved in a general research project or paper.  Click on the steps to get some brief information about what that step entails.

The Research Process

Before starting an assignment, make sure that you have read it through completely and asked your professor for clarification on any parts that may be confusing.  Create a "plan of action" or "To Do" list with dates to make the assignment less overwhelming. In this case the "assignment" that we are working towards are the homeworks and the final project.

Click here to review your assignment.

A good topic is….

  • Interesting to you.
  • In-line with the assignment guidelines.

Click here to view a video on choosing a topic.

Most topics are so big when they are first chosen that you need to narrow them down by asking a research question to help direct your searching and writing. However, before you can do this, you need to have a general idea about what the topic is and the issues surrounding it. In order to get this basic understanding you will need to do a bit of preliminary research or "presearch"

The best sources of information for presearch are reference materials because they provide a basic overview of a topic. The most used type of reference item is encyclopedias. Some great ideas for getting a basic overview of your topic are:

  • Wikipedia: an open web/freely accessible encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library: a library database that provides access to published reference sources for all types of subjects.
  • Credo Reference: another library database that provides access to published reference sources for all types of subjects.

Click here for a video on finding online reference materials using the library databases.

Developing a research question can make the research process more efficient, by providing a direction for your project.  A good research question will have more than one variable and solve a problem, controversy, or issue. Then brainstorm the micro questions that you will need to answer in order to fully answer your main research question.

For example--

  • Topic = Redlining
  • Primary Research Question = What reparations would be appropriate in overcoming redlining?
  • Micro-Questions
    • What was redlining?
    • Who was involved in redlining?
    • What damages were done during redlining?
    • What possible reparations are there for redlining?
    • What restitution would be the best in overcoming the harm done by redlining?


Click here to view a video on creating a research question.

Create a search strategy to help make your search more efficient.

A search strategy consists of a search formula and identifying places to search based on your information needs.

  • To create a search formula, identify the main keywords in your research question and join them together using the word "AND," then think of alternate words for each of your main concepts. Include them by using the word "OR." Remember that AND tells the database that you want both of those terms in all of the results and the word OR tells the database that the items can have either word.
  • To determine where to search, think of what types of information you need. Do you need in-depth information that books that you would find in the library catalog would provide? Do you need the narrow information that an article that you would find in the databases provide? Does the information need to be scholarly or popular? Subjective or objective? Once you have answered these questions, think of what tool to use (eReference, Catalog, Databases, of Open Web).

Click here to view a video on creating a search strategy.

Use materials to learn about a topic and to write or present about the topic. Use materials in your writing by citing directly using quotation marks, paraphrasing sentences or paragraphs; or by summarizing the entire item. Always make sure to use an in-text citation after each quote, paraphrase, or summary of an item, then have the full citation for the item you used in your Bibliography to avoid plagiarism.

Required resources for this Project (6 total):

Evaluate each resource that you come across, including websites, by asking the following questions:

Current?  Is this current to my topic?

References? Is the information supported by citations/references?

Applicable?  How will this help me answer my mini or main research question?

Authority?  Is the author or entity an expert and qualified to write on this topic?

Purpose?  Is this item written for the general public or for scholarly reasons?  To sell or to inform?

This is where you combine your own ideas with what you have learned from the resources/materials you found on your topic to tell the story of the issue or topic.  A great way to start this step is to create an outline, using the information you gathered from the resources, of what you would like to write about or present on the topic.  

A great resource for students having trouble writing, is our on-campus Tutorial Center.

You must cite the sources that you use to avoid plagiarism. All direct quotes, paraphrases, and summaries must be cited. In other words, all ideas or facts taken from some other writer, even though in your own words, must be cited. All creative works are copyrighted material, so it is PLAGIARISM if you use ideas from a resource without citing that resource

For each source collect…

  1. Author(s) and/or Editor(s).
  2. Date of publication.
  3. Article title.
  4. Publication Title (title of overall item that the article or item was published within).
  5. Publication information; including, edition, volume, pages, place, & publisher.
  6. URL or database name (if found online).

*Not all sources will have all of these elements & some sources may need additional elements, but this should be enough to get you started in Noodletools or to at least be able to track down your source.

Use the library's subscription citation tool, Noodletools, to help you create, organize, and manage citations and bibliographies.

Click here for a video on getting started with Noodletools.

View our Citation Help Library Guide for more information on citing and the different styles