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Scholarly Research Tutorial: End

Wondering where to start finding sources for a paper? Not sure where to go beyond Google? Start here for a quick tutorial in effective research methods for scholarly papers.

Help!

We've drilled into your head that there are 5 steps to the research process:

  1. Analyze your topic
  2. Select the right research tool
  3. Conduct your search
  4. Evaluate the results
  5. Retrieve your resources

More accurately, these are 5 steps you can take to obtain high-quality resources for your academic paper.  In reality, the research process will also include:

  • continually fine-tuning your topic;
  • discarding sources you don't like;
  • returning to the databases to find new sources;
  • figuring out how to use your sources in your paper;
  • writing and revising your paper and bibliography.

If you're new to writing academic-level research papers, this whole process might seem overwhelming.  Luckily, there are people on campus whose job it is to help you with this stuff.

Ask a Librarian

If you have questions about finding resources in library databases or on the web, librarians are the people to ask.  Here's how to get research help:

  • Stop by the Front Desk on the 1st floor of De Paul Library;
  • Call the library (913-758-6306);
  • Email Ashley Creek (the Access Services Librarian) at creek91@stmary.edu.

Ask the Academic Resource Center

If you're having trouble with any aspect of writing your paper -- coming up with a thesis statement, following a style guide, making revisions -- you can work with a tutor at the Academic Resource Center located on the 1st floor of Miege.  Check out their web site to get more info.

Ask Your Professor

At the end of the day, only your professor can tell you exactly what she's expecting from you.  Don't be afraid to send an e-mail, drop by office hours, or grab her after class if you have a question or problem.

 

 

The Last Word

It's been fun, y'all.  Before we send you off, here's a last piece of wisdom about research papers.

The point of writing a research paper isn't the paper itself.  To be perfectly honest, your professor probably doesn't want to read yet another 5 page paper on theme parks or any other topic.  So why did he ask you to write it?  Because doing research teaches you how to grapple with information and think critically. These skills will come in handy for the rest of your life.  Think about doing research as exercising -- it may not be fun while you're doing it, but it's really, really good for your brain.  And the more you do it, the easier it gets.  

Reading through this tutorial and taking the quiz definitely count as Research Exercise.  Good hustle, team!  You're already stronger and smarter than you were before you started.