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Basic Steps in the Research Process
This list of steps is a guideline for you to use. Not everyone will do these steps in the same order and you may go back and forth between them.
1. Select a general topic that interests you in some way.
2. List key words to help you look up information about the topic.
3. Go to an encyclopedia, or other reference source, to get an overview of the topic (you will not cite these sources in your paper).
4. Make source cards for whatever sources you will use for information.
5. Using the general overview, begin to focus the topic into something you can cover well.
6. Write a statement of purpose about the focused topic.
7. Brainstorm questions about the focused topic.
8. Group questions under similar headings.
9. Add any new questions you can think of under those headings.
10. Repeat step 2, listing more key words from your newly focused topic and questions.
11. Make a list of possible sources that can answer your questions. Identify the best sources to use.
13. Begin making notecards. Use your brain stormed questions to guide your note taking.
14. Change your statement of purpose into a draft thesis statement.
15. Make an outline of your headings.
16. Refocus your thesis statement if necessary.
17. Write the body of your paper from your notes.
18. Cite any necessary information with parenthetical citations.
20. Write your Works Cited (it is similar to a bibliography).
21. Evaluate your work.
22. Turn in your paper on time.
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