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IWU OCLS Tutorials: DMIN Research Guide - Getting Started


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Research Paper Process: Step by Step


1. Develop your Research Question.  


Think about:

  • What research is and what it isn't.
  • The kind of research paper you will write.
  • Ways you can choose a topic for your research paper.
  • Who you are writing to (your audience) and why you are writing to them.
  • Whether or not you understand the assignment.





2. Decide what type of information you will use in your research.  


Think about:

  • Will you need print or e-books?
  • Academic journal articles?
  • Magazine or Newspaper articles?
  • Web sites or other multimedia?





3. Determine the kind of information you will need.


Think about:

  • Are you looking for current or past (historical) information?
  • Will you need Primary Sources or Secondary Sources?
  • Should you use Popular, Trade, or Scholarly Journals?
  • How will you evaluate the information you find for accuracy, audience, bias, or purpose?





4. Start the process of writing your paper. 


Think about:

  • Pre-Writing: Get your paper off to a good start.
  • Think about the entire Writing Process.
  • Write your Thesis Statement.
  • Develop an Outline.
  • Start your First Draft.
  • Proofread your First Draft.
  • Revise your Draft using the Revising Process.
  • Proofread and Revise again.





5. Avoid Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism by citing and referencing the sources you use.  

Academic papers need to be aligned with your required writing and citation style, APA Style, or Chicago Manual of Style.


The APA Style tab of this guide will take you to the APA Style Guide that includes helpful information, example citations and references, and step-by-step directions for working with APA Style format and a paper template.


If your courses use APA check out Academic Writer! Academic Writer is the official APA writing platform. You can concentrate on writing the content of your paper and Academic Writer automatically formats your papers in APA Style format. 


The Chicago Style tab of this guide will take you to the Chicago Manual of Style Guide includes helpful information, example citations and references, and step-by-step directions for working with Chicago Style format.





Forming a Research Question


Formulating a research question pyramid



An Open-Ended Thoughtful Question Drives Good Research


Good research explores a question without an easy answer. Narrowing a topic to a primary question will get your research off to the right start.
Questions require answers.
A topic is too broad to cover thoroughly, but a question has an answer.



The Influence of Drugs on Crime

Could the legalization of less harmful drugs like marijuana reduce crime in the U.S.?


Are laws requiring waiting, counseling or sonograms effective in reducing abortions?

Sports Injuries

Why do heat exhaustion deaths occur and how can they best be avoided? 

Working Women

In what fields have women achieved the greatest equality and through what means?

A question is a way of evaluating the evidence. 
A clearly stated question helps you decide what information is needed in your paper and what is not relevant.
An open-ended question calls for real research and thinking.
A question with no easy answer makes research and writing more meaningful to both you and your audience. Your research may then solve a problem or contribute to the field of knowledge.



Examples of Keyword and Subject Searches


Click Here for examples of keyword and subject searches for the following research questions:

  • What effect does divorce have on children?
  • What effect does birth order have on academic achievement?
  • Are children who play video games more likely to be violent?



Save Yourself Time. Request Research Help from an OCLS Librarian!


Save time with your research and request a Personalized Search Plan (PSP).  





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