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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!

Your Research Question

  • A research question is similar to a thesis statement – it is the question you want to answer in your assignment, clearly defined
  • Your research question should be:
    • An issue, rather than a topic (death and dying is a topic, how to best counsel the grieving is an issue)
    • Specific enough not to overwhelm you with information
    • General enough so that there is information available
    • A topic that can actually be answered



The CRAAP Test is a set of criteria that helps you evaluate whether or not a source you've found is a good source to use. CRAAP stands for:

  • Currency - how current or up-to-date is the information?
  • Relevancy - is the information on-topic for what you need?
  • Accuracy - is the information correct? Does it line up with other sources?
  • Authority - who wrote the information? Why should you trust them?
  • Purpose - what is source's purpose? Entertainment? Advertising? Informing?

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

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
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Sara Sharun