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The Research Paper Process

This guide will help you throughout the process of writing a research paper, from brainstorming ideas to the finished paper.
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Is my topic too new?

Use this flowchart to determine if you will find scholarly sources

Has your topic occurred within the past:

Week?
No you will not find scholarly sources

Month?
You might find a few scholarly sources, but nothing peer reviewed

Year?
Yes there will be scholarly, and some peer reviewed sources


What do I do if I really want to research this topic?

Has a similar topic occurred before?

No
No, you will not find scholarly sources

Yes
Start researching that event, there might be parallels to the new one

I'm not sure
Research your topic using broad terms in a source like Credo Reference to see if there is something similar


My topic is not new, there are similar events, but I'm still not finding scholarly sources

Have you asked a librarian?

No
Ask a Librarian!

Yes
There might not be any research on the topic.  Not everything has been studied.

I'm not sure
Ask a Librarian!