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Research Guide  

Los Angeles Southwest College Library LibGuide for Conducting College Level Research
Last Updated: Aug 30, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Getting Started Print Page

Keeping Organized

Be sure to build your reference list as you find articles and sources for your paper instead of after your paper is written.  

When using a print book, photocopy the title page and title verso page (the side opposite the title page) along with any other pages you use.  These pages provide much of the information needed when creating your reference or bibliography list. 

When possible for an electronic article, save a pdf of the article to a folder specific for your paper.  This will allow you to reference the information later, and not perform another search.

It is much easier to copy and save information first, rather than hunt it down after you've used the perfect quote.  


Research Steps

Below are the basic steps which can be used when conducting any research.  This Research Guide will help you find the resources needed as you proceed through the steps.

The Steps

1.   Choose a topic

What do you want to write about?  Do you have a research question in mind?


2.   Create a keyword list

What nouns describe your topic?  What are some synonyms? Use a Thesaurus to help find other words!


3.   Start to find background information

Look in the library's general reference resources for background information.


4.   Refine your topic

Have you found something specific about your topic you wish to explore?  Add additional keywords and terms to help refine your topic.  If you don't already have a research question developed, you should develop one during this step.


5.   Search sources

Now that you have your keyword list and have developed your search strategy, look for databases which cover the subject of your topic and start searching! 


6.   Evaluate the sources

Evaluate the articles and books you find to make sure they come from a reliable source and fit with your topic and research question. 


7.   Create Citations

Keep track of your sources as you compile them! It will help you in the long run!

The following video explains researching for a college level paper.  The steps may be slightly different than what is listed above, but the process is the same.

Courtesy of University of Rhode Island Libraries.

General Reference Materials

Most of these links require a login when off-campus.


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