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Course & Subject Guides

Composition 1 and 2 - Johnstown Campus: Research Paper Process

This guide is designed to help students enrolled in English Composition 1 and 2 classes at the Johnstown campus.

The Research Paper Process

This infographic provides a visual overview of the research process. Keep in mind that it is messy, convoluted, non-linear, and requires persistence.

infographic on the research process. Use the "text version" tab for the plain text.

The Research Paper Process

  • Choose a Topic
    • Understand your assignment parameters, requirements, and due dates
  • Conduct Background Research
    • Search for news articles, top hits on Google, and encyclopedia articles.
  • Refine your Topic
    • Narrow down what you want to investigate. Think about the who, what, when, where, and why for your topic.
  • Create a Research Question
    • Come up with a tentative question you want to answer in your project.
  • Develop a Search Strategy
    • Select your resources and develop your keywords
  • Search
    • Conduct multiple searches in relevant resources
  • Evaluate your Results and Sources
    • Use the CRAAP model: currency, relevancy, authority, accuracy, and purpose
  • Adjust and/or Repeat your Search
    • Try different keywords, resources, and strategies depending on your needs
  • Start Writing
    • Incorporate your sources into your writing from the beginning
  • Review and Re-Search
    • Fill in the holes, explore new areas of interest, dig deeper, etc.
  • Cite, Review, and Edit
    • Put the final touches on your project