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Research Snapshot: 8 Steps to Writing a Research Paper: Home

A quick guide to the research process

Meet the Librarian

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Kathleen Ennis
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Spring 2024 Research Help
Drop-in Help with Kathleen @ the
East Campus Library
Mondays: 3pm-7pm
Tuesdays: 11am-1pm
Wednesdays: 11am -12pm & 1pm-3pm

Appointments with Kathleen
I'm happy to meet you online or in my office on East Campus. Appointments are, by default, via Zoom. If you prefer to meet in my office, just say so in your appointment request or drop me an email.

If none of my posted availability works for you, please email me. We will make it work.

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Understand your Assignment: What topics can you explore? Are any topics off limits? How long is the finished product? How many and what type of sources are required? Will you be describing, analyzing, comparing, solving, or persuading? When is it due?   Choose a Meaningful Topic: Research is an opportunity to explore topics relevant to you and your life.  If your topic isn't personally meaningful, the research process will quickly become tedious. If you have trouble connecting with a topic, your MJC librarians will have lots of ideas to help.   Assess Available Resources: Before you commit to a topic, run it through a few databases to ensure there is plenty of credible information available to fuel your research. Compare the types of sources required with what you are finding. Problems? Talk to a librarian ASAP.   Do Some Background Reading: Familiar websites are great as you begin to develop your ideas. They also help you identify search terms and tune into important conversations unfolding around your topic. Seeing how others discuss your topic can provide useful ideas on how to refine your paper.   Create Research Questions: They help shape your paper, plus save you time as you focus on finding sources answering specific questions. As your research progresses, you may revise and even add to your questions. Research librarians are happy to help you develop questions to get you started.   Gather Your Sources: Find high quality sources answering your research questions. Follow the assignment's source guidelines and rigorously evaluate everything you plan on including in your bibliography. Be sure to follow the  citation style set out by your professor.   Read, Reflect, Write, Revise: It's simple: the more you read, think and write about your topic, the more you'll learn about it. Read your sources closely and often, tracking the information you plan to use. Get your ideas down on paper as they develop, and cite your sources as you go.   Utilize the L&LC: MJC librarians can help you get started with your project and assist you with every step of the research process. Learning Center staff can help ensure the grammar, spelling, and organization of your paper are turn-in ready. Visit us early and as often as needed!