Knowing what to do first when starting a research project can be confusing! This page will walk you through getting started on your research.
Research is a process by which we explore, investigate, and gather information to either find new discoveries or analyze existing ideas. It is a process of systematic inquiry where we ask questions and seek to find the answers to those queries.
Research most often includes the following steps:
Research is not a straightforward, linear process. It evolves, changes, backtracks, and jumps forward the more you work on your identified question or query. In fact, research looks more like a squiggly, jumbled piece of string than a straightforward or progressing line.
Every person develops their own way to research. Your research workflow will look different from your classmates. And that's okay! The more you conduct research, the more comfortable you will be.
Background information provides you with the important context of an idea or topic that helps you better understand your area of research. At its core, background information is what you need to know about a subject before you can research a specific question or argue a specific point.
There are numerous places to find background information. Where you look depends on what you need to learn and research. Some places to start include:
Also, background information can include your own personal and community experience. As a student, you have likely encountered many situations and learning opportunities that have informed your understanding and opinions on various subjects. While these are not "academic" sources, your experience matters and can help you understand all sides of a topic.
The links below take you to our recommended library databases that can help you start your background research.