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Research Process: Start Here

Break your topic into keyterms; map terms to subject headings; use AND/OR to combine searches. Learn the difference between peer reviewed & scholarly sources.

Want help? Meet with the Library!

How do I start my research?

1. Visualize your topic

2. Search relevant database(s) for your topic

     A. Use databases' subject headings

     B. Combine terms

     C. Refine your topic:

  • Finding articles can be part of determining your topic!
  • You might need to narrow or expand your initial topic.

     D. Narrow or expand search, as needed

  • Be sure results are under 80 to get relevant results
    • Add another term 
    • Add limits 
  • If narrowing brings your results too low:
    • Use another database
    • Broaden your search terms
    • Try citation chasing

3. Read the articles you find! Use what you read to locate more articles

4. Evaluate your resources. 

5. Get organized! Save your citations & create your bibliography.

STEP 1 - Determine your topic

Start with this video on choosing on adjusting your topic from North Carolina State University Libraries.


This guide was created by Frances Brady for Adler University.