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6 Stages of Research

Walk through the different stages of the research process, breaking each step down into manageable and concrete action. This guide includes topic brainstorming, creating a research plan, finding information, taking notes, and citation.

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Questions to ask yourself about the information

The purpose of this stage is to interact with your resources and begin to find answers to your questions.

As you read and learn more about your topic, your understanding and how you think about your research question will probably change. This is a good thing, it means you are really learning. However, there are some steps you can take during this process that will make it easier and set you up for success in the long run. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What types of information did you find?
  • Will the information answer the questions that you have?
  • How do you write notes on the information?
  • Is the information reliable?

How to use the information

Don’t be afraid to jump around: Scholarly articles don't have to be read like a book, paragraph by paragraph, line by line. It's ok to skim and scan! 

Read the abstract first: Previews the entire article, makes it easier to judge whether it is relevant.

Next, read the introduction and conclusion: Learn more about the topic of study and what the authors found out in the process.

Take a look at the tables, charts and graphs: Get a better idea of the results of the research or analytical study. 

Mark it up: Engage with your source! Take notes, highlight important sections. Look for what is missing as well as what is there. 

Find the source: Consult the introduction and references for other potential sources to follow up on. 

Taking notes while you read is just as important as the process of reading. A good set of notes will help you organize your thoughts, remember what you read days later, and provide the exact information you need while you are writing your paper. 

Zotero is a citation and research management software. It allows you to save all of the articles you have found and will create a bibliography for you.

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