Skip to Main Content

The Research Process

Research Process 

  • Research is a process – and it’s challenging

Selection -----> Exploration -----> Formulation -----> Collection -----> Presentation

  • Selection – choosing the general topic you’re interested in 
  • Exploration – looking around at sources, trying to decide on what to use and on what is your specific topic
  • Formulation – creating a thesis statement with a specific focus
  • Collection – gathering information for your focused argument – for and against
  • Presentation – writing your paper to demonstrate what you know about your topic (the time to cite your sources!)
  • You will go back and forth between stages!

Get quick, authorative information about your topic


Find scholarly articles on your topic

Popular vs. Scholarly


  • Written by experts
  • Reviewed by other experts
  • Written for scholars and students
  • Reports original research


  • Written by journalists
  • Reviewed by an editor
  • Written for the general public
  • Reports news, practical information...



You can identify an academic article by:

  1. Author’s credentials
  2. Published in a journal
  3. Academic language
  4. Includes reference list
  5. More than 6 pages long

Write your annotated bibliography

Each of the annotations will include the reference itself, and a one paragraph explanation describing what the reference is about. The paragraph will contain the following information:

  1. a statement describing the type of reference
  2. a statement describing the topic(s) discussed in the reference, and
  3. a statement explaining what the author's conclusion is, if there is a conclusion.
  4. an assessment of the resource

For more examples and prompting questions, see the resources below:

Article Searching Tips

Finding too much?

  • Use AND between ideas to search for BOTH terms
  • Put “Quotation Marks Around Your Search" to search for exact phrases

Finding too little?

  • Use OR between your ideas to search for EITHER term
  • Put * after the root of a word to look for multiple endings

For better searching, think of multiple ways to describe your topic

Profile Photo
Joel Blechinger
Phone: 403.440.8624
Office: EL4423E