STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR TOPIC
SUMMARY: Brainstorm topic ideas using the internet and library resources, then state your topic as a question. For example, if you are interested in finding out about self esteem in teenagers, you might pose the question, "What effect does use of Instagram have on self esteem of High School students?"
STEP 2: FIND BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND DEVELOP YOUR TOPIC
SUMMARY: Learn more about your topic by reading articles in encyclopedias. Note any interesting topics or information in the bibliographies at the end of the encyclopedia articles and keep a research notebook on the related topics and key words you find. Use this new information to identify the main concepts or keywords in your question.
STEP 3: USE THE LIBRARY TO RESEARCH ARTICLES AND INFORMATION
SUMMARY: Use guided keyword searching to find materials on your topic. Copy the article permalink/URL or write down the citation (author, title,etc.) and the location information (call number and library) if you find a physical book on your topic. When you pull the book from the shelf, look at the bibliography for additional sources.
STEP 4: DEVELOP A SEARCH STRATEGY TO FIND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Nearly everyone is aware of and uses Google and its other services, Google Scholar, Google Books, Google News, YouTube, etc., to search and find information on the open Internet, but there are special tips and tricks to easily searching for good information. Searching in the library databases and catalog using keywords, limiters, and boolean phrases will yield higher quality scholarly resources for your paper.
STEP 5: EVALUATE WHAT YOU FIND
SUMMARY: See Know Your Sources, Is It Scholarly?, and How to Identify Fake News in 10 Steps handouts for suggestions on evaluating the quality of the books, articles, and online sources you located.
Watch on YouTube: How to find citations and references and The Problem with Fake News
If you have found too many or too few sources, you may need to narrow or broaden your topic. If you get stuck, ask a librarian for help.
STEP 6: CITE WHAT YOU FIND
Give credit where credit is due; cite your sources.
Citing or documenting the sources used in your research serves two purposes, it gives proper credit to the authors of the materials used, and it allows those who are reading your work to duplicate your research and locate the sources that you have listed as references. When other authors cite their sources properly, you can also use their research to help you with your own!
Knowingly representing the work of others as your own is plagiarism. Use the "plagiarism" tab in this guide to help you properly cite and avoid plagiarizing another persons work.
This guide was made possible through the hard work of ASU Library Spring 2018 interns Amanda Portillo and Jennifer Lewis.
The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-two Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.