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Jessie Ball duPont Library

Research Writing

A beginner's guide to creating a research strategy for all of your papers.

The Seven Steps of Highly Effective Research Papers

The research process is not necessarily linear. It winds in and around your topic, folds back on itself, leads to tangents (that sometimes turn out to be more important than the issue at hand), and occasionally becomes frustratingly inconclusive. Still, there are some parts of the research puzzle that serve as standard guideposts. If we pay attention to these guideposts, we might keep from pulling all of our hair out. The seven basic steps of research in college are --

1. Choosing a topic

2. Finding sources and acquiring information

3. Determining your main idea (thesis statement or hypothesis)

4. Presenting your sources

5. Organizing your material

6. Writing the finished assignment

7. Citing your sources

Material adapted from Writing from Sources, 8th edition, by Brenda Spatt