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Before you start searching for sources for your assignment, it's always good to think about how you'll search your research topic. Check out this short introduction to help you get started with research.
Research is a circular process. This means that research is not a one-way process where you have a defined beginning, middle, and end. Most of the time, you may need to repeat steps of the research process.
Research takes time. Finding sources that are credible, relevant, and of good quality takes time. Remember that you may need to repeat some steps of the research process depending on what you need for your research assignment.
Here is an example of steps you may take when researching a topic for an assignment. You may need to repeat some of these steps based on the information you need for your assignment.
Start with a draft topic idea. The reason it's a draft is because you may need to change or modify your topic at any point in the research process depending on what you learn about your topic or the sources you find in your search.
Evaluate the sources you are finding to determine if they are reliable but also if they are relevant to your topic. If you are finding many sources on a different theme you may choose to refine your topic again, or you may choose to change your search strategy to find more relevant sources.
Performing background research (sometimes called "preliminary research") on your topic is useful to get a basic understanding of the topic before you start doing more research and looking at academic sources.
After doing some background research you should be able to:
List the basic issues or concepts surrounding this topic
Describe the topic in general terms without relying on notes
Generate a list of keywords or subtopics that are commonly paired with your topic
Tools for conducting background research include:
Google: Google your topic and see what comes up. What types of websites appear? Are the websites educational, news, blogs, governmental, and/or from companies?
Seneca Library Search: Doing a quick search in Library Search can be useful for background research. When looking at your search results, look at the the types of resources (such as eBooks and articles), how many results, and how current the information is.