Step 1. Identify and Develop Your Topic
Step 2. Find Background Information
Step 3. Use Library Databases and Catalogs to find Books and Other Media (Audio/Visual)
Step 4. Use Library Databases and Indexes to find Journal Articles
Step 5. Use Internet Search Engines to Find Additional Resources
Internet search engines can also provide additional resources of information. Google, and it's branch Google Scholar, are probably the most popular. Google Scholar contains some PDF articles available for free. Many other items on this site are citation only. However, you can link Google Scholar with the Purdue Global Library to see if we have the full text available.
What about Wikipedia? Should you use it? No, not as your main academic source. But, Wikipedia can be used as a springboard to find common ideas, keywords, and references for your topic. Click this link for more information: Can I use Wikipedia?
Step 6. Evaluate Your Sources of Information
Never forget to critically evaluate your sources for accuracy and authority. For more information about how to effectively examine your sources, take a look at the resources below:
Step. 7. Cite What You Find (APA Format)
Never forget that you must give proper credit to your sources and use the information you've gathered effectively and ethically in your paper, project, or assignment. The video below is a brief introduction to APA Style.
The Library also subscribes to Academic Writer, which has lots of different tools for researching your topic, writing your paper, and citing your sources. Visit the APA & Writing page of this guide to learn more.
Need more help developing the right keywords? Take the brief interactive tutorial below:
Finding too much? Or not enough? Take a look at this video: