To get started, read your assignment carefully. Make sure you understand the task before starting your research. Consult the "Decode an Assignment" box for tips.
Once you select a topic, you will need to conduct some preliminary research to decide how to proceed with your research. In addition to the "Explore Your Topic" box on this page, there are many resources to help you with this stage of the process!
The word "research" means many different things. Research assignments might involve reporting on a topic, reviewing the state of research in a given area, reading and critically analyzing a text, or investigating and taking a stand on an issue. You might be asked to generate an original thesis or to conduct field research (interviews, surveys, experiments, or first-hand observations), using information to support and frame your ideas.
Read your assignment carefully and see if you can answer these questions:
If you aren't able to answer these questions, ask your professor for clarification - but only after you've read the assignment carefully.
Doing research projects takes time. Look at your calendar and set realistic goals. Be sure you don't spend all your time finding sources - plan time into your schedule to read them and to write!
Spend some time mapping out a topic, sorting out what information is available and what others have said about your topic. You're trying to figure out the conversations happening around your topic - and identifying who's having those conversations. Try these strategies: