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General Research: Getting Started

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Welcome to the General Research Guide

The General Research Guide will help you locate books, journal articles, web sites and other great resources available through the University of South Carolina Aiken's Gregg-Graniteville Library.



Tackling a research paper or project can seem overwhelming at first. Breaking down the process into well-defined steps makes it seem more manageable.

Step 1  Choose a topic

Since you will be spending a lot of time researching and writing about the topic, it's important to choose something that interests you. This will not only make the process easier, but it will make for a better finished product.

Step 2  Develop an overview of the topic

Familiarize yourself with your topic by developing a general understanding and knowledge about it.

Step 3  Determine the information requirements

Ask yourself, what types of information am I required to find? How many sources do I need? Knowing what you are looking for will save you time and frustration.

Step 4  Organize the information

You have a pile of research, now it's time to get organized. Decide what exactly you have and what do and do not need.

Step 5  Analyze and evaluate the information

Grab your highlighter and get ready to read and re-read your information. This is the time to find the ideas and theories that stand out and are relevant to your paper or project.

Step 6  Communicate your research

You've gathered your research, now it's time to put in writing what you have found and, if relevant, what you think about it. It's helpful to create an outline of what information and ideas will go where in your paper so that you have a clear vision of what you will say and how you will say it.


Ask a Librarian

Ask a Librarian


Related Research Guides

Here are a few research guides that may be useful to you when beginning your research paper or project.