Before you start your research, make sure you understand what type of assignment you have been given. Remember to start early so you have enough time to find all the resources you need.
The following steps outline an effective research strategy needed to complete an essay, class presentation, or a term paper in most courses at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
For some students this is the hardest part of writing a paper. The following tips may make the process a little easier:
The following tutorials will help you with identifying and developing your topic:
Now you have to start your research. Whether using the library catalogue , a research database or a search engine , you will need the best possible search terms or key words. The success of your search will depend on your choice of these words.
Analyze your topic for key concepts to use as search terms (keywords). Your concepts can be:
After you have identified the key concepts, try also to identify synonyms for your terms, related terms and spelling variations (e.g. marihuana, marijuana, cannabis ).
For your search strategy use the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT to combine your keywords and to retrieve more relevant results.
Before you start searching for resources on your topic - think. What type of material (information) do you need to complete your research project?
Your instructor will usually tell you what sources are appropriate and might ask you to use a variety of sources, ranging from books, scholarly journal articles (in print or in online research databases), government reports, and newspaper articles to scholarly websites.
If you need a short introduction to a topic, a general overview of the topic, or definitions of terms check for encyclopedias and dictionaries in the Library Catalogue . You can also find links to online encyclopedias and dictionaries in our Subject Guides .
Search the library catalogue to find books, government reports, or videos. If you need help with searching the Library Catalogue click on one of the following links:
You might also want to search other library catalogues of British Columbia and Canadian libraries , or illume, the internet catalogue of BC public and academic libraries.
Be sure you know what type of article you are looking for. The Subject Guides will provide the names of the best databases to search in your subject area. Remember, it is often necessary to search more than one database to find the best articles on your topic.
Use this checklist to evaluate your sources:
Not sure how to read academic books or journal articles? Try this tutorial for help.
The library collection has many resources to help you with note taking , reading academic books , essay writing , report writing or how to give a presentation .
Also, check Kwantlen's Virtual Writing Centre or visit the Learning Centre on your campus if you need additional help.
One essential part of a research paper is the bibliography or reference list . Remember, when writing a research paper, it is required that you properly credit or cite all sources used. If you do not cite your sources, you are plagiarizing the work of others - a serious academic offense and a violation of the university regulations!
Always check with your instructor to ensure you are using the correct citation style.