When you are just starting on a research project, we recommend you follow these steps.
- Choose a topic
- Conduct background research
- Refine your topic
- Create a research question
- Develop a search strategy
- Collect and organize your citations using online tools to help cite, save, and manage your sources.
- Evaluate your results and sources
- Adjust and/or repeat your search
- Start writing (see guide here)
- Review and revisit research
- Cite and edit
What is a literature review?
Understanding what others have written on your topic is important. You can then use those sources to help you explore your research question to better support your final argument.
Assembling those sources is the first step of a literature review, the foundation of your research.
You should be able to synthesize and discuss the important studies and themes of the literature before you make your original argument.
How do I organize my sources?
Online tools will help you cite, save, and manage your sources!
- Zotero - A free online research tool that works with your web browser to collect sources and build your personal library.
- RefWorks - A citation management tool that allows you to manage and store your sources.