The Writing Center


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This handout will show you ways to streamline your research so that you have time to do the reading and writing that you need to. Many people have a scatteredapproach to research, but that won't yield the best results.   The ideas here are taken from adult learning theory and the pedagogy of Janice Lauer.

Begin with a Question, Not a Topic, Even if You're Assigned a Topic

If you write with a question to be answered, you'll know when you are done! If you write on atopic, you'll never be finished. Ask a questionof the material that you would really like answered: that will motivate you to do your best work.   Adults do their best when they choose what they're learning and see it as relevant. Here is a link to a handout on getting started: /academic/writingcenter/WAC/Invent.html

Make a Library Roadmap for Yourself

The link will take you to a set of questions that will give you a roadmap for research. Answer them quickly and then you'll know where you have to begin in the library: Invention for Research

Go from the Most General to the Most Specific Information

Books often provide the most readable way into your subject matter (if there are books written on your subject). General articles from reputable magazines are also a good start. Here are some ideas for starting research:

  • go to the CSU library homepage
  • spend 1 hour just looking for titles on your subject(about 40 for a 10 page paper—don't faint, you will eliminate most of them andisolate the 5-6 excellent ones—so many sources promise more than they deliver)
  • you do this by searching for books and articles(sometimes web sites)
  • for books, search OhioLink and order yourself books we don't own; use this link to get there
  • for articles, use the FindArticles page on the library web site:
  • be patient at first when you try new databases—this is new to everyone
  • if you get stuck or have questions, you can email a CSU librarian who will send you an answer if you use this link

Help with Finding Sources and Sample Papers

The following link offers students general resources and weblinks to research in the humanities, social sciences, history, and the sciences:    It's very helpful to look at a sample paperin order to get your references correctly cited. This web site also covers Chicago Style (Turabian).

Help with Citations and Reference Page

The following web site offers an amazing array of handoutsand exercises, and you can opt for printer-friendly versions:    Type APA format or MLA format into the search box and you will be able to print a 10-page handout that is very easy toread—much easier than the books that APA and MLA put out.   This site also offers ESL handouts on a wide array of subject matters.

Schedule a Tutorial in the Writing Center

To set up an appointment to have a tutor look at your work,call 216-687-6981. We go over all stages of research—from planning and researching to drafting and editing.




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