The Research Process

The Research Process can be divided into four steps.

This page contains resources to help you every step of the way in your next project, report, essay or presentation:

Research Process Step 1: Exploring Your Topic

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does this assignment require me to do?
  • What will my product/project look like if I do a really good job?
  • What problem needs to be solved? What question needs to be investigated?
  • What people/groups also need to find answers to these types of questions? Do they have a website?

**Ask your teacher to explain if the assignment isn't clear to you.

Good questions are the key to exploring an issue or topic in a meaningful way. Create good questions to guide your research. Don't research a "topic"--research to find information that will help you explore your particular questions.

Here is a resource called the Questioning Toolkit. Learn about the many different types of questions you can ask about a topic.

Research Process Step 2: Investigating Your Topic

Printable Graphic Organizers: All Purposes and Subjects

Creating a strong hypothesis

Creating a strong "working thesis" statement

First Clip: How to take your question and create a good keyword search

Second Clip: Web Search Strategies

Research Process Step 3: Processing Information

Cornell Note-Taking Method (Template & Instructions)

Video on Summarizing (Kimbel Library Videos)

How to Summarize a Research Article (Grades 11 & 12)

Using Figures, Tables and Graphs in a Report (eg., Data Management Report)

Link to OWL at Purdue (APA, MLA, sample essays & reports)

Sample Biology Paper using CSE (Council of Science Editors) citation format

Below you will find a checklist (document) that will help you to assess the reliability and validity of a website for your research. Your teachers will ask you to cite sources in your area of study (not just Wikipedia!) in order to show that you have read about your topic and have summarized key ideas from a variety of sources.

Look at each of these sites. Use the criteria in the document below to assess each site for reliability.

a) Research about cats

b) Research about dihydrogen monoxide

c) Octopus

d) Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide

Research Process Step 4: Communicating What You've Learned

Sample papers in MLA formated paper. Click here.

Sample APA formatted paper. Click here.

APA powerpoint (Owl Purdue)

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