FIRST—Questions.

Prepare one to four “research questions,” suggested working title or titles for the paper (do not have to be catchy!), and a preliminary thesis sentence which attempts to shed light on the question or questions. It is best to have a single question eventually, but at an early stage, multiple questions help.

 

SECOND—Identify Resources.

Go to your local or university library to look at books, reference works, etc. Google keywords from your question. Search the Univ. Library website databases.  

 

You will have to learn how to log in from a remote location if you do not already know how to do so. Learn how to use the various databases in “Articles and More” including such websites as JSTOR which has article texts on line.

 

Develop a list of at least FIVE resources. Resources can include primary and secondary sources, print materials (books and articles), encyclopedia articles, textbooks, internet postings, and materials from library databases.

 

THIRD—Initial research. Read the five resources; you can skim through at first. Take notes. Distinguish between what you need as broad context, and what your focus is going to be. Take down a short quote from each resource, and note the author’s interpretations of data, comments on the significance of the data, and so forth. 

 

Now write a sentence or two about something you found, (not what you hope to find!) in each of the five resources, including a brief quote, a paraphrase or summary, assessing the relevance to one or more of your questions or thesis statement(s). Remember to give page numbers for books or articles and a precise URL for internet websites. You can have more than five resources but at this stage, you need to show you have at least looked at 5.

 

FOUR—revise the introductory paragraph to reflect what you are actually finding.

 

FIVE—write up one to five main points you think are emerging from your research.

 

SIX--Send it to me. We are ready to discuss your paper!