The Seven Steps of the Research Process The following seven steps outline a simple and effective strategy for finding information for a research paper and documenting the sources you find. Depending on your topic and your familiarity with the library, you may need to rearrange or recycle these steps. Adapt this outline to your needs. We are ready to help you at every step in your research. Olin Library OL _8b7a728a-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 Cornell University URIS Library UL _8b7a7a28-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 Cornell University _8b7a7b0e-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 _8b7a7b90-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 Topic IDENTIFY AND DEVELOP YOUR TOPIC _8b7a7bfe-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 STEP 1 SUMMARY: State your topic as a question. For example, if you are interested in finding out about use of alcoholic beverages by college students, you might pose the question, "What effect does use of alcoholic beverages have on the health of college students?" Identify the main concepts or keywords in your question. Identification IDENTIFY A TOPIC. _8b7a7c76-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 Step 1.1 If you haven't picked a topic yet, go to Suggestions for Finding a Topic. State your topic idea as a question. For example, if you are interested in finding out about use of alcoholic beverages by college students, you might pose the question, "What effect does use of alcoholic beverages have on the health of college students?" Identify the main concepts or keywords in your question. In this case they are alcoholic beverages, health, and college students. 519df577-d7ac-45d7-a135-80a62be189ed Testing TEST YOUR TOPIC. _8b7a7cee-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 Step 1.2 Test the main concepts or keywords in your topic by looking them up in the appropriate background sources or by using them as search terms in the Cornell's "Classic" Catalog and in periodical indexes. If you are finding too much information and too many sources, narrow your topic by using the and operator: beer and health and college students, for example. Finding too little information may indicate that you need to broaden your topic. For example, look for information on students, rather than college students. Link synonymous search terms with or: alcoholic beverages or beer or wine or liquor. Using truncation with search terms also broadens the search and increases the number of items you find. 242be90f-0e92-4b25-9fc4-a92acf5d412d Background FIND BACKGROUND INFORMATION _8b7a7d66-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 STEP 2 SUMMARY: Look up your keywords in the indexes to subject encyclopedias. Read articles in these encyclopedias to set the context for your research. Note any relevant items in the bibliographies at the end of the encyclopedia articles. Additional background information may be found in your lecture notes, textbooks, and reserve readings. _8b7a7de8-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 b8083d6c-747f-4b8d-8865-ace0b7d3c702 Catalogs USE CATALOGS TO FIND BOOKS AND MEDIA _8b7a7e6a-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 STEP 3 SUMMARY: Use guided keyword searching to find materials by topic or subject. Print or write down the citation (author, title,etc.) and the location information (call number and library). Note the circulation status. When you pull the book from the shelf, scan the bibliography for additional sources. Watch for book-length bibliographies and annual reviews on your subject; they list citations to hundreds of books and articles in one subject area. Check the standard subject subheading "--BIBLIOGRAPHIES," or titles beginning with Annual Review of... in the Cornell Library Classic Catalog. _8b7a7eec-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 9b068e17-e81c-4d0f-b5e0-9e96fb56e076 Indexes USE INDEXES TO FIND PERIODICAL ARTICLES _8b7a7fd2-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 STEP 4 SUMMARY: Use periodical indexes and abstracts to find citations to articles. The indexes and abstracts may be in print or computer-based formats or both. Choose the indexes and format best suited to your particular topic; ask at the reference desk if you need help figuring out which index and format will be best. You can find periodical articles by the article author, title, or keyword by using the periodical indexes in the Library home page. If the full text is not linked in the index you are using, write down the citation from the index and search for the title of the periodical in the Cornell Library Classic Catalog. The catalog lists the print, microform, and electronic versions of periodicals at Cornell. _8b7a805e-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 a9f61a77-d0ed-4411-9213-4b321307a2ce Internet FIND ADDITIONAL INTERNET RESOURCES _8b7a80ea-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 STEP 5 Nearly everyone is aware of and uses Google and its branches, Google Scholar, Google Books, Google News, YouTube, etc., to search and find information on the open Internet (as opposed to the subscription-only resources you will encounter in steps 2 through 4 above). Here are links to other search engines. You can also check to see if there is a research guide (a subject guide or a course guide) created by librarians specifically for your topic or your class that links to recommended resources. _8b7a8176-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 0bd3e6ea-cac5-4df3-b57c-01bf3a037312 Evaluation EVALUATE WHAT YOU FIND _8b7a8202-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 STEP 6 SUMMARY: See How to Critically Analyze Information Sources and Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals: A Checklist of Criteria for suggestions on evaluating the authority and quality of the books and articles you located. Watch on YouTube: Identifying scholarly journals Identifying substantive news sources If you have found too many or too few sources, you may need to narrow or broaden your topic. Check with a reference librarian or your instructor. _8b7a8284-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 c846ac6b-5535-4e8d-9c71-e2eadf953dac Citation CITE WHAT YOU FIND USING A STANDARD FORMAT _8b7a8324-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 STEP 7 Give credit where credit is due; cite your sources. Citing or documenting the sources used in your research serves two purposes, it gives proper credit to the authors of the materials used, and it allows those who are reading your work to duplicate your research and locate the sources that you have listed as references. Knowingly representing the work of others as your own is plagarism. (See Cornell's Code of Academic Integrity). Use one of the styles listed below or another style approved by your instructor. Handouts summarizing the APA and MLA styles are available at Uris and Olin Reference. _8b7a83b0-2b9d-11e2-b90a-e5b75b280d48 a5d15043-0acb-4d93-a1e0-d750b27426ed 2012-11-10 http://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/ref/research/skill1.htm Owen Ambur Owen.Ambur@verizon.net Submit error.