Research Tips

Since each of you will be researching a different topic, you want to think about the TYPE of resource you want, and then read over the description to ensure that you are not wasting your time using a resource that will not locate valuable or relevant information for your project. Review the following information to ensure that you are going along step-by-step in the process.

Step 1: Task Definition- Developing Keywords

You have already decided on a basic topic for research, but you should never simply type the whole question in the online catalog, database, or search engine. Your first step should be to developing a list of keywords that are relevant to all aspects of your topic and allow you to decide on which terms will be most helpful for your search purposes.

Here is a video created by the University of Houston to assist with developing keywords. Watch the video, then take some time to develop a list of keywords for your project.

Step 2: Selecting Resources

The next step is to think about the intent of the research questions that you developed, and understand what resources will best assist with answering your questions. Here are the resource options that you have, and a little bit about each. Make sure you understand the types of resources and how each will help you.

Resource Type




Print books are excellent resources for background information, author biographies, specific literary criticisms, and much more.  Encyclopedias are good starting points to gather background information.

SHS Library

Link directly to library catalog


Current and archived magazines can provide perfect primary source perspectives, as often times articles were written during the researched event.  Use “The Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature” and google searches along with the date of the publication to help you locate certain issues.

SHS Library



Databases will offer a variety of articles on specific topics and are the preferred sources of information.. Databases can offer scholarly (peer-reviewed) articles from journals, or popular articles from magazines and newspapers.


The internet will provide a plethora of information.  While Google is an obvious choice, try out the search engines to the right, which can search for information that is beyond Google’s scope.



Interviewing experts in your field of study is a tremendous resource.  They will be able to provide first-hand experience, artifacts and other unique resources available no where else.

Schedule an interview!

 Step 3: Using, Citing and Synthesizing Information

Now you should spend time reviewing the information that you have located and taking notes for your project.  Here are some tips:


Step 4: Evaluation

After you have completed your final project be sure to complete the following activities: