Preparing for a research paper this semester? Here are some tips on preparing, researching, and citing for your work.

Prepare for research!

  • Give yourself time to gather information before trying to write (don’t count on the resources being available a day or two before due dates…)!
  • Plan ahead- schedule time to sit somewhere quiet (the LIBRARY is the perfect place for this) to dedicate yourself to you work.
  • Ask questions!  If you do not know where to start, come see the library staff to get you started on finding information on your topic.

Research first, write later

  • Find as much information as possible before drafting your paper.
  • Use the library
    • The Catalog will help you find books, e-books, and DVDs for your assignment.
    • Online Databases or Article Indexes give you access to thousands of articles-both scholarly and popular, periodicals, and other publications.
  • Find all of these resources by visiting the library website at

Have some, need more?

  • Check the subject terms on the items that you found. OR are there related words?
  • Example:  “green technology” could also be “renewable energy” or “sustainable engineering”
  • Subject terms are POWERFUL! Find them on all items in the catalog and databases.  Check out the record page for the list of terms.
  • Ask library staff for help!

Note taking

  • Read through all research material and make notes on facts that you think are important for your text
  • Note cards may seem arcane, but TRUST US, they help in the long run.  Even jotting factoids and the author’s name in your notes will help tremendously when it comes time to write and cite!

Need more?

  • ASK THE LIBRARY!  It’s what we are here for!  As Charles Proteus Steinmetz said, “There are no foolish questions, and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.”
  • Really, we are here to help.  Just drop by the information desk or visit our online chat, Ask-A-Librarian at

Plagiarism: it’s a crime

  • When using others’ ideas, give credit to avoid plagiarism.
  • Plagiarism has many consequences, the least of which could be receiving a zero on your paper and the most severe being kicked out for academic misconduct.
  • Avoid it by citing your sources, it’s that simple!
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Cite it!

  • Cite sources within the text and in your Works Cited or Bibliography (it may go by other names too!)
  • See the particular style guides for your discipline or whatever your teacher requires.
  • APA- used by Psychology and many other sciences
  • MLA- used by English and other humanities
  • Chicago/Turbanian- used by History and other humanities

Dazed and confused? Grab a library staff member. We will be happy to walk you through the research process. We LIVE for this stuff!

This article has 1 comment

  1. Mark Smith

    Plagiarism: it’s a crime –
    I’m hundred percent agree with you. People should avoid this practice. Your 7 points are very valuable.

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