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Steps in a Research Process. Sherwood Brooks Driftwood Middle School 2012. Seven Steps. 1. Decide on a Topic 2. Develop an Overview of the topic 3. Determine the information requirements 4. Organize the information 5. Analyze and evaluate the information 6. Synthesize the information

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sherwood brooks driftwood middle school 2012

Steps in a Research Process

Sherwood Brooks

Driftwood Middle School


seven steps
Seven Steps
  • 1. Decide on a Topic
  • 2. Develop an Overview of the topic
  • 3. Determine the information requirements
  • 4. Organize the information
  • 5. Analyze and evaluate the information
  • 6. Synthesize the information
  • 7. Communicate or present the research

SMBrooks DMS 2012

1 decide on a topic
1. Decide on a Topic
  • Start with a question, problem, or issue.
  • Develop a topic and thesis
  • Topic = broadly defined subject area
    • E.g. effects of rain runoff
  • Formulate a question to find a narrower perspective
    • E.g. What are the effects on rain runoff in the Everglades?
  • Thesis Statement = answer you expect to find, or points you will argue about the topic
    • E.g. rain runoff increases pollution in the Everglades, endangering plant and animal wildlife
    • OR rain runoff improves the conditions for plant and animal wildlife

SMBrooks DMS 2012

2 develop an overview focus
2. Develop an Overview(Focus)

This step is often ignored but is most important!

  • Gather background information
  • Refine your topic
  • Develop a general bibliography (will be discussed in detail later)
  • Identify additional key words related to your topic – useful when searching for additional topic-related information
  • Work from general to specific
  • Use as many resources as possible (corroboration)

SMBrooks DMS 2012

2 develop an overview continued
2. Develop an Overview - Continued
  • Browse subject-based encyclopedias, handbooks and directories
  • Use online encyclopedias such as Grolier and Britannica
  • Refer to bibliographies in textbooks
  • Use online directories such as Destiny (See our Media Specialist for help)

SMBrooks DMS 2012

3 determine the information requirements
3. Determine the Information Requirements
  • Find books using key words
  • Use online directories
  • Locate Secondary and Primary

sources when possible

  • Find resources via the World Wide Web

(A classroom list of research resources is available for reference.)

SMBrooks DMS 2012

4 organize the information
4. Organize the Information
  • Know when to stop searching and start thinking about what your collected information means. Develop a schedule so you can finish the paper on time. This is also one of the most important steps for ethically using information and avoiding plagiarism.
  • Make sure you write down where you found any information in case you need to review it. You will also need this information for your references and work cited list (will explain further later) or note cards.
  • Using complete citation information when compiling. This will save time when writing the paper.

SMBrooks DMS 2012

organize your information
Organize Your Information
  • Think over the important ideas as you read from your sources and write them down in your own words. This is called paraphrasing and it will help to avoid plagiarism.
  • Plagiarism is the serious offense of using someone else's ideas or phrasing and representing those ideas or phrasing as our own, either on purpose or through carelessness.

SMBrooks DMS 2012

examples of plagiarism
Examples of Plagiarism
  • Cutting and pasting sections of other people’s work and presenting it as your own without saying where you got the information.
  • Downloading entire papers and passing them off as original.
  • Quoting someone’s words without telling who said it.

Writing something that is common knowledge is NOT plagiarism.

SMBrooks DMS 2012

formatting citations
Formatting Citations
  • We will be using MLA (Modern Language Association) documentation style.

(This will be a separate lesson which will be presented later.)

Jot down:

Author Last, First name. Name of Book (italicized). Publisher, City, State (Abbreviated)

    • Cassatt, Mary. Sara Handing a Toy to the Baby. Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT.
  • You will need this information for your in-text citations as well as your works cited page.
  • If required by your teacher, write this information on note cards as an annotated bibliography (Will discuss later)

SMBrooks DMS 2012

online help with mla format
Online help with MLA Format
  • is one site that will allow you to enter your information and it will organize it in the correct format.
  • will check your work to help you avoid plagiarism.

For help with MLA format:


SMBrooks DMS 2012

5 analyze and evaluate the ininformation
5.Analyze and Evaluate the inInformation
  • Analyze your notes
    • Break it down into categories or themes
    • Decide how themes or categories relate to your topic (relevancy)
    • Discard any information that does not relate
    • Look for gaps in your thesis statement (unanswered questions) and go back to find information that is missing

SMBrooks DMS 2012

6 synthesize the information put it all together
6. Synthesize the Information (put it all together)
  • Refine your thesis statement
  • Outline your paper
  • Begin to write your first draft
  • Proofread and check for spelling and grammatical errors

SMBrooks DMS 2012

7 communicate the research
7. Communicate the Research
  • Present your research paper in the format required by your teacher
  • Pay attention to the assignment requirements such as line spacing, margins, and font size and style
  • Properly use citations to avoid plagiarism
  • Include a Works Cited (Bibliography) page
  • At the time of submission, make sure all websites used actually work. Some sites may have moved or been deleted by the time you turn in your paper.

SMBrooks DMS 2012


"Suffolk University - A Research Process." Suffolk University - A Research Process. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2012. <>.

"Index of /library/guides." Index of /library/guides. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2012. <>.

"MLA Style Papers: Step-by-step Instructions for Formatting Research Papers." — Jerz's Literacy Weblog. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2012. <>.

"A Writer's Practical Guide to MLA Documentation." Guide to Writing Research Papers: MLA-Style. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2012. <>. "Citation Style Quick Guides | Indiana University." Citation Style Quick Guides | Indiana University. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2012. <>.

SMBrooks DMS 2012