The K-State Salina Library has created this guide to help you navigate research and academic writing resources that will be useful to you during this class and throughout your academic and professional careers.
If you need any assistance, please feel free to contact Dr. Mirtz at K-State Salina (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Video: Intro to Research (how to get to databases and library info)
Video: ENGL 100 Research Tips (ways to improve your keyword searches and find full-text)
You can never start too soon to create a research plan for that paper. Work backwards from the final deadline and plan for writing center appointments, peer feedback in class, and questions for your instructor. You can do this!
If it's broad to begin with, try performing a search on the catalog or a major search engine such as Google to get a feel for current issues that are currently related to that topic. You want the topic to interest you, but you also want to engage with current research and connect to the scholarly conversation that is ongoing in the field.
A research question defines the scope of your topic. Phrase it as a "how" or "why" question. For example, instead of a yes/no question such as "Are there many benefits to having a pet as a college student?", phrase it as "How do pets benefit college students?"
As you perform some preliminary searches, you will get a sense of the terminology scholars in that field are using in their language. Write down keywords that you can search in different combinations. See more on the Choosing Keywords page.
Research question/interest: Should I, as a college student, get a pet?
Rephrase to a "working" research question: How can a pet thrive with a college student's schedule of school and work?
Include related, relevant questions: What data indicates how much human interaction time a dog needs to thrive?
Keywords: dog psychology, human-animal interaction, human-animal relationships, university, college, achievement, success, animal welfare, pet owners, anxiety, stress, social interaction, animal therapy, play behavior, dog walking
Find out more on the Evaluate Sources page. A research log helps you manage complex searches and work efficiently without having to backtrack.
Your research question might be best answered as a narrative, a problem-solution, a classical argument, or other structures.
Write your first draft, keeping in mind that it might be quite messy as you "wallow in complexity" as Peter Elbow would say. Keep track of your sources and cite them informally as you draft.
Revising can include re-envisioning your research question, moving paragraphs, rewriting for clarity, adding examples and descriptions, creating transitions, and deleting (egads!) material that is no longer relevant.
You may have moved and paraphrased ideas as you revised, so check again with the original sources to make sure your source info is accurate and follows APA style.