Before you write, research!
1. Refine your topic.
Do you need to identify a problem and propose a solution? Do you need to examine two sides of a controversial issue and come up with a unique perspective?
Learn about the pros and cons of your topic, find background information related to its history, and identify subtopics you want to explore in your paper using CQ Researcher. link will open in a new window
2. Gather Evidence
To support your argument, you'll need evidence that backs up your claims.
Examples of good evidence include:
Get started searching for evidence using the Library's Summon Search link will open in a new window
3. Analyze and Synthesize
Is the evidence you've found:
You probably won't find scholarly articles that cover exactly what you're trying to say.
Instead, break your argument down into specific points and look for evidence that support those points. It will be up to you to put all of your evidence together to support your argument.
4. Create an outline
An outline helps you to organize your thoughts. It's also a great tool to make sure you have the evidence you need to back up your argument.
For each section of your paper, and for every claim you make, you should have evidence to prove your point. If you don't have that proof, go back to step 4 and find more sources!
It's never too early to start working on your works cited list! Create citations as you go so you're not stuck trying to build them at the end.
Build citations and manage them all in one place using the Library's RefWorks tool! link will open in a new window
Remember, it's a cycle
Research doesn't flow from one step to the next.
A good research strategy involves re-visiting each of these steps multiple times. Searching for and reading articles may cause you to re-think your topic. An outline may highlight the need to find more articles. Don't be afraid to move backwards!
If you need help with any step along the way, talk to your instructor or schedule an appointment with a Librarian.
Bias: Using only the evidence that points to a specific, favored outcome. When scholarly writing shows bias, it's usually an article that leaves out data or evidence that would contradict the outcome the author wants to see.
The types of sources you might use when researching controversial issues and current events: