Step 1: Start by asking yourself some questions:
1. What does the assignment require? Read the assignment guidelines carefully for requirements such as length, formatting (single or double spaced, indentations, etc.) and citation style.
2. What will your topic be? If you were given a general topic, you'll need to narrow it down so you can cover all relevant information but not so much that you won't find enough information to enable a rich discussion.
3. Can you summarize what your paper will be about in a sentence or two? You may need to do some preliminary research to be able to do this. If you're having trouble, try paraphrasing your topic as a question then answer that question (this may become your thesis statement).
4. Do you have an open mind and are you willing to change directions based on your research?
5. Do you know where to find supporting evidence?
Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the process:
1. Remember that librarians can help, they've added subject specific research guides to help.
2. Need help choosing a topic? Just click the "How do I choose a topic?" button.
3. Identify the right key words to start your research.
4. Find a variety of resources at the Learning Commons you can use for free (including tutoring and meeting with a librarian).
5. Evaluate the resources you find by using the CRAAP scorecard or clicking on the "Can I trust the information I've found" button.
6. Organize your resources by creating an outline for your paper that includes where you intend to incorporate quotes from your sources. Additional guidance can be found by clicking the "How do I start writing this paper?" button.
7. Review the assignment and which style guide you should use to cite your sources. Additional guidance can be found by clicking the "How do I start writing this paper?" button.
8. Begin writing your paper and remember to avoid plagiarism by citing your resources.
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