For any research project remember this web:
Define your information need; pre-search; formulate curiosity questions. What is your assignment? Has the teacher defined your research topic for you or do you need to develop a topic yourself? If you need to develop a topic choose something you are interested in, making sure it is not too broad nor too narrow. Whether your topic is assigned or you choose it yourself, what do you already know about this topic? What are you curious about? Ask yourself who, what, where, why, how, and when questions. What are the required elements your teacher has assigned? Begin to “pre-search” your topic to get further background. As you pre-search, build a list of keywords that will help you find deeper resources.
Discover possible resources. Now that you know a little about your topic through pre-searching, what resources can you use to find deeper information? You will need to use at least three types of resources but it is good to use more. Be creative. Don’t restrain yourself to the same-old-same-old. We know that books, websites, and online encyclopedias are good resources, but what else can you think of? Are there primary documents you could use? Could you interview someone? Is there a museum you could go to? Can you send away for a pamphlet? Don’t confine yourself to the same old resources just because they might be handier.
Locate your resources and evaluate them. Using your keyword list, start gathering your resources. When using the Internet, don’t forget to use the website evaluation tool found in EasyBib. Remember, you need to evaluate every resource, not just websites.
Take notes to answer your questions or add new questions. Once you have gathered some resources, create your new project in EasyBib. As you begin to take notes from a source, first create a citation in EasyBib. On the subject of note taking, there are many tools for note taking and your teachers will discuss this with you. Whatever tool you use for notes, make sure to organize them and keep your sources cited in EasyBib. As you take notes, connect each note to the source it comes from. This will help you return to the source in the future, and also give you the information you need to create an in-text citation. Reflect along the way: Are you answering your curiosity questions? Are there new directions your research should go? Do you need more information? Do you need more resources? Are you fulfilling the requirements from your teacher?
Process the new information and decide how to convey what you have learned. When you think about the facts you have gathered and add your own unique perspective and understanding to the topic, you synthesize the information. Depending on your assignment and your intended audience, you will create a final project that shows what you know. Try to choose a way to show your audience your knowledge that is true to the fantastic individual person that you are. Be creative.
Reflect on the research process as you are working. Take a moment to think back on your research. What went well along the way? What were your roadblocks? Did you find the answers you were looking for? Did you have to adjust your questions? Were you able to find helpful resources? If you could rewind and do this process all over, what would you do differently?
(Our research steps are based on a combination of the Big6 and IIM research models.)