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Roadmap to Research: Hwy 201: Getting Ready for Research

This guide will help you get ready for research, and introduces you to the how-tos of conducting research.

Learning Objectives for Highway 201

Identify your information needs and research goals.

Identify potential sourcesand explore available informaiton.

Narrow your research direction to a manageable focus.

Assignment Calculator

Need help managing your time? 

Try this nifty Assignment Calculator.

Rest Stop

How do you approach a research paper/project?

Rest Stop
Procrastinate: 24 votes (63.16%)
Make a project schedule and stick to it: 9 votes (23.68%)
Finish well before the deadline: 5 votes (13.16%)
Total Votes: 38

Identify Your Research Needs

Defining your topic early is critical since it directly affects the rest of the research process.  Sometimes, this first step of the process is the hardest.  If you need help getting started, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has my professor assigned a topic?
  • What am I interested in?
  • Is there a length requirement for my paper or project?  
  • Is this topic recent enough to be relevant?
  • Has there been enough time for material to be published about this topic?

Gathering background information has important uses. It can help you estimate the amount of material available on your chosen topic and decide if it will be sufficient. You may also pick up related terms, concepts, and synonyms you can use in your searching. Some good places to look for background information are:

  • Encyclopedias
  • Basic books (handbooks, possibly textbooks)
  • Web sites
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines

Driver's Ed.- Narrowing Your Topic

Click this image to go to a "Driver's Ed." tutorial.

Brainstorming Worksheet

Print yourself a copy of this brainstorming worksheet in the early stages of your research.  Write down all of your ideas, even if they seem silly or unimportant.  The point of brainstorming is to generate as many ideas as possible, not to evaluate them.