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Learning to write a solid, well-researched paper is essential to your success as a student and as a potential future academic professional. This guide will introduce you to resources, techniques, and tools that can help you define a topic, find the perfect sources, save time and effort, and avoid last-minute stress!

Explore Your Topic

  • Use specialized reference books to learn the basics about your topic
  • Search databases for full-text online reference works
  • Consult research guides for searching tips and lists of resources related to your topic

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Narrow Your Topic

  • Save time and effort by picking the perfect scope for your paper
  • Begin with a broad subject and bring it to a sharp point
  • Transform your narrowed topic into a thesis statement

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Make a Plan

  • Break your assignment into easily manageable blocks
  • Use your assignment deadline to plan a research schedule
  • Visualize your research process with charts and mind maps

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Find Sources

  • Find books in our collections, or get them from other libraries
  • Search popular databases to find theses, dissertations, and peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Find recent and historical newspaper articles

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Evaluate Sources

  • Keep sources that have been vetted by experts
  • Beware of advertisements, obvious bias, and outdated information
  • Look for citations that indicate that the author has done enough research

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Use and Cite Sources

  • Avoid plagiarism by correctly citing the sources you consult for your paper
  • Learn to construct citations in a number of styles
  • Use citation building and management tools to keep track of your sources and generate bibliographies

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Ask A Librarian  We can help at every step!