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The Library Research Process, Step-by-Step

General help to get you started in the research process for your paper or project.

Writing Process

Writing with a computer

Everyone uses a different writing process. One process is to print out your rough draft or outline and edit with a pen or pencil. It can be helpful to see it all on paper and arrange the pages as you see fit.

Citation Help

Writing Your Paper

The writing process will vary based on the type of project you are working on, but most will involve putting together your own paraphrased notes, any direct quotes from your sources, and your own original thoughts.

Find a writing process that works for you.  Do you need to write an outline? How will you map out your argument?  Or support it? Revise carefully.  How will your revisions affect your whole paper?

Incorporate your sources ethically.  Have you captured not just the words but also the context of your source material?  Have you used the correct in-text citation method? See the last tab in this guide for help with citations.

Start writing early so that when you finish, you can come back to it later!

Note Taking

It's important to take good notes as you are researching your topic. You'll save time if you take notes the first time you read through an article, rather than going back to read it a second time after you decide to use it as a source.

  • Write notes in your own words. Avoid plagiarism! These notes will end up becoming part of your paper, so you'll save time by paraphrasing your notes directly as you go along.
  • If you are copying and pasting text, note where you found that text.
  • Create your citations early.  See the Purdue OWL for help.
  • See the Citation Help research guide for more help.

Writing Resources

The general writing guides found here may be of assistance if you have questions about style, different genre of writing, etc.