Research Essentials

Basic Skills for Beginning Research

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Marla Beebe
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2nd Floor, Rm 266A

Research Steps Overview

Research Steps


  • Make a list of SEARCH TERMS that identify the subject(s) of your topic.
  • Identify everyday terms, synonyms, and related terms.
  • Jot down the scholarly and/or professional terminology used to describe the topic. 
  • Check if other terminology is used in different disciplines. 
  • MORE



  • SSU's RESEARCH DATABASES like the Discovery Service and Web of Science provide the most and the best online academic journal articles.  Login via the library website to get all the online articles you are entitled to. 
  • SSU's LIBRARY CATALOG and the OhioLINK Central Catalog provide books, eBooks, and audiovisual resources. Request virtually any of the 50 million items in Ohio college and university libraries to be delivered for free to the location of your choice.  Renew online up to 6 times during the semester.
  • As you research, scan authors, titles, subjects, abstracts, and documents for additional names and terms that you can use to locate more information as you develop and refine your research question. 
  • Use AND, OR, NOT to combine search terms.
  • Use * (the asterisk) to truncate (e.g., volcan* locates volcanic, volcanicity, volcanism, volcano, volcanology, etc.)
  • MORE


  • Automatically export citations from the SSU research databases into ENDNOTE.
  • Use EndNote online any time, anywhere as your working bibliography, to access online articles, and to format your References list.  
  • MORE


  • ASSESS and EVALUATE the information in each item you have chosen.
    • Does the item address your research question? 
    • Does the article pass the CRAAP test?  Is it Current, Relevant, Accurate, and Authoritative?  What is its Purpose?  To analyze, inform, persuade, proselytize, etc.?
  • Do you need to rethink your research question? to use different search terms? to use different research databases?
  • MORE


  • Repeat this process as many times as necessary as you investigate and explore your topic.

Contact a librarian if you need help finding resources.