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Research is a Process

Research is a Process

(The graphic shows 5 steps of the research process arranged around in a circular shape to emphasize a cyclical, iterative process rather than a linear one)

Research is an iterative process. Instead of straightforward and linear, it is repetitive and cyclical. As you move through the steps to learn, you should modify and revise your strategies. Don't be afraid to return to an earlier step to reset your process!

  1. Your Research Question (your information need: thesis or topic)
  2. Background Information (Wikipedia, Textbooks, Books, Newspapers, Google)
  3. Find Info Sources (UC Library Search, Library Databases, Bibliographies, Google Scholar) (TIP: Are you finding enough relevant sources? If not, you may need to return to step 1 and refine your topic.)
  4. Read & Evaluate (Ask the 6 question words - who, what, where, when, why, how - to determine if the source is good) (TIP: Think! Are your sources the best evidence to support your argument? If not, return to step 3.)
  5. Organize, Write, & Cite (Citation software can help: Endnote, Mendeley, Zotero) (TIP: Synthesize and take good notes! Don't fall victim to plagiarism when you write.)

(Text on an arrow points to the lefthand navigation) Check out the guide's pages to learn more about each step

Adapted by Kelli Breland, UC Merced Library, from Mandi Garcia, University of Oregon Libraries. For educational purposes only. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License