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Haverford College

Getting started on your research

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Need help at any stage of the research process? You can always Ask a librarian.

In order to conduct any research project well, it helps to approach it in an organized and deliberate fashion. Breaking down your research into a series of steps, such as those listed below, can help you track your progress. Since your growing understanding of a topic will lead you in unforeseen directions, it is unlikely that you will move through these stages in a linear way. Nevertheless, anticipating problems and knowing techniques for addressing these problems at each stage can both improve your work and save you valuable time.

Click on any of the following seven stages of the research process for helpful tips. Click a second time to return to this list.

  • 1. Selecting a topic

  • 2. Collecting background information

  • 3. Find books and media in catalogs

  • 4. Use databases and indexes to find articles

  • 5. Find internet resources

  • 6. Evaluate resources

  • 7. Cite sources in an appropriate format