Research: A Quick Start Guide

This guide will help you find resources and organize your research

First steps for starting your research

Before you click that search button...

a screenshot of the search bar on the library homepage with the mouse pointer hovering over the search button

Make sure you understand your assignment. 

When your professor gives you an assignment, read through it thoroughly so you know what is being asked of you. You want to know what the final product should look like, what type of resources you need, and if there are certain parameters you need to meet (for example: do you need a certain number of resources, do they need to be peer-reviewed, what type of citation style do you need to use, etc.). 

If you've chosen a topic that's new to you 

A good place to start is to look through an encyclopedia to get a general overview of the topic. What is the history of your topic? What are common terms associated with it? Are there multiple opinions or viewpoints to consider?

An encyclopedia is a good way to start to answer these questions. Credo Reference is a library database that provides access to a bunch of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and more. Wikipedia is also a good place to start get familiar with a new topic. 

Develop a thesis statement to guide your research

Once you have an idea of your topic and your assignment parameters, you can develop a thesis statement. This will help guide your research because you'll know what you're trying to prove or argue in your assignment. The Simon Frasier University Student Learning Commons website has an excellent guide to developing a thesis statement. You can also reach out to one of our writing centers or a VAWLT Tutor for help developing yours. 

Please note: Your thesis statement may change as your dig deeper into your research. That's ok! It's helpful to be flexible and not get too set on your argument before you see what research is out there. You may find a more convincing argument, or a more fascinating way of understanding your topic, and that may make you want to change your thesis. Go with it. 

Links to Encyclopedias

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