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Research Basics - All Subjects

Montgomery Library's Guide to Research Basics

Know Your Assignment

What do you need to know about your assignment? It is normal to re-read the professor's assignment instructions 3 times! It is also helpful to read example essays in the same genre.

  • What is the purpose of the text or work you are creating?
  • Who is the target audience of the text you are writing?
  • How many sources do you need?
  • Do you need journal articles and books?
  • Do you need scholarly sources only?
  • Which citation style are you using?
  • What is the tone of your paper to be? (Persuasive? Formal?)



Research & Writing Cycle

This process is not a linear path. Any step may need to be repeated at any time.

Click any box below for more information about that step. 


Genre Question Searchterms Boolean Evaluate Brainstorm2 ReviseTopic ThesisOutline Searchterms2 ReviseCite

Research Process - Links for More Information

As you can see in the diagram above, the research and writing process is not linear. Any step may have to be repeated at any point in your journey. Click on the blue links below to find resources from various universities about research and writing concepts.

1. Define your topic Identify the research question you are going to answer.  
2. Develop a search strategy  Choose keywords and phrases to describe your topic. Compose a Boolean search.
3. Search for resources Use your Boolean search in a database that covers your topic. Try other advanced search methods.
4. Evaluate search results Evaluate your results and revise your topic if necessary, come up with new search terms.
5. Write and cite When drafting and writing, be sure to cite ALL sources in the style required by your instructor or publisher. In-text citations must be provided within the paragraphs that use information from those sources. Put the full citation on the Works Cited/References list.
6. Review and revise Critically review and revise your work, checking for errors.


Tutoring and Writing Center

Part of the Badgett Academic Support Center at Campbellsville University, The Writing Center provides peer writing consultants to guide undergraduate students throughout the writing process.