Gather Information

Now that you have your research topic in hand you can start to gather information. Remember that you may have to modify your topic as you discover what information is available. Be flexible. The research process is not a matter of checking off a list of things to do, but more a process of readjustment until you have produced the final paper.

Go back to your assignment and review its requirements.  Did your teacher specify the number or type of information sources? Do you need recent or historical information?

Keep your list of concepts and keywords handy and be ready to change them or add to them as you go along. Take the time to develop a search strategy before you start your research.

Not all of the information you find will be useful. Conduct a preliminary evaluation of each information source before selecting it:

  • Is it pertinent to your topic?
  • Does the publication date fall within the requested time frame?
  • Is it an academic publication or an authoritative source (written by an expert in the field)?

To know when and how to use a particular type of information source, simply click on the item in the list at the left of the page.

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Tip:

  • Keep track of which quotes you want to use and what you would like to paraphrase.
  • Make note of all the relevant information for each of your information sources: author, title, publishing information, page number, date, etc. Include where you found it: database name, library, or on the web.
  • Save any web page you’re going to use: either print it out or save to your computer. Web pages can change.