This guide contains a compilation of resources that will help you with your research projects in WRTG 121. The sections of this guide are organized by type of resources (finding books, articles, getting help, etc.)
Use the tabs on the left side of the guide to find more information about how to search for articles and books, how to get help, and how to evaluate information.
If you are brand new to doing research, you might want to spend a little time looking at our research basics guide and tutorials, which include information on choosing a research topic, understanding source types, and much more.
How Information is Created explores common information sources, considering their identifying features as well as their intended purpose and audience. You'll learn to identify how different sources present information and where to expect each source on the information creation timeline.
This 7-step model of the research process pairs nicely with the idea of writing as a process, which is probably something you've heard about in your WRTG 121 class. This model is one of many research process models you might use. It is helpful because it points out how time-consuming and complicated doing research can be:
This is the stage in the process where you've just received your research assignment. At this stage, you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed, apprehensive, and uncertain.
Selecting a Topic:
This is the point in the process where you've thought a bit about what you might want to research, in broad terms. You may have chosen something general like vegetarianism, video games, baseball, or autism; if you're doing community research, you may have chosen a dormitory, a church, a tattoo shop, etc. At this point, you might still feel confused or anxious about how to do research on your topic.
This is the stage in the process where you begin trying to find background information on your topic, or start trying to hone in on one particular aspect of their topic. This can be really overwhelming, so you might again feel confused or doubtful. What might help is generating a list of questions that interest you related to your larger topic. Brainstorming or concept mapping can also be helpful.
Forming a Focus:
Once you've done some preliminary brainstorming and background research, it's a good idea to focus on one of your questions or subtopics.
When you begin to search for more information related to your question or focus, you'll probably begin to realize that there's even more work to be done! This is the most intensive stage of the research process, because you have gather sources, and then read and evaluate them for quality and relation to your question. Depending on what you discover, you might find that your focus has changed after reading some sources. However, this is the most interesting part of the research process, because you'll be learning new and exciting things about your topic.
At this stage, you'll begin synthesizing the information you've gathered and actually begin writing or producing whatever project you are working on. This is also a very time-consuming stage. Keep in mind that it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed about how to synthesize the information you've found, and how to blend this information with your own ideas and background knowledge.
After finishing a research assignment, it's a good idea to be reflective about what you think you did well, and what you might need to improve upon next time. This is the stage where you'll either feel relieved at being finished, or disappointed in what you've produced! :)