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Research Process: Research Process

A guide to the research process.

Research Process

the steps and the cyclical nature of the research process

An Example

Research Project Calculator

Brainstorm

Brainstorm  about your topic. Write down what you know about the topic and questions you have about it. You can use concept maps to help you and to  generate keywords you can use in your search.

 

Remember to think about synonyms too.  For example, "global warming" and "climate change" are both useful search terms for that topic.

Search

Search using the most obvious terms. Use some of the keywords from your brainstorming. This is the easiest step.

Re-search

Re-search is when you use search strategies to get more, fewer or more relevant results.

Too many results?    Try using    AND, subject headings or phrase searching


Too few results?       Try using    OR, synonyms, related words or truncation

 Tip:  Use the first good article you find to help you find better ones.  It can give you some new search terms to try and subject headings.

CRAAP Test - Evaluation Criteria

Evaluate your information using the CRAAP test. Based on what you discover, go back and brainstorm and re-search some more.

C urrency
How new (or old) is the information? 
Is the information out of date for your topic?
R elevance
Does the information address your topic, thesis and supporting arguments? 
Is it at an appropriate level (i.e not too elementary or too advanced?)
A uthority
Who wrote the information? Individual or institution? Are they credible?
Are the author's credentials or qualifications given?
Is there author's contact information?
A ccuracy
Is the information consistent with other sources? 
Does the information seem biased?
Are there spelling or grammar mistakes?
P urpose
Why was the information created? To persuade? To educate? To sell something?
Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions clear?
Are there political, cultural, institutional or personal biases and opinions?