Skip to Main Content

Guide to the Research Process: Home

This guide provides an introduction to the skills needed to conduct research.


The format of this guide and some of the content was used with permission from Lynda Quamina-Aiyejina. Many thanks for her willingness to share her excellent work with others.

This guide was otherwise written by David Mayo, the retired library director for Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte Campus.

Research Skills

Everybody does research.  Some just do it better than others--(William Badke)

Use this guide to sharpen your research skills and it will serve you well for the rest of your life.


One of the best books on the research process and using library resources is in the library and also available at Amazon.  The Kindle Version on Amazon is very cheap.  Of course, the library edition is even cheaper!

Click book title for Preview

"Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Infomation Fog" by WIlliam Badke (5th edition)

Research Process Overview

The research process typically includes five broad steps. Normally, you would complete one step before moving onto the next. However, there may be times when you will need to return to a previous step or complete multiple steps simultaneously.

Step 1. Develop a topic
Select a Topic Formulate Research Questions | Identify Keywords | Find Background Information | Refine a Topic

Step 2. Locate information
Find Books | Find Articles | Find Websites | Find Videos | Search Strategies

Step 3. Evaluate and analyse information and sources
Evaluate Sources | Primary v Secondary Sources | Popular vs Scholarly Periodicals

Step 4. Use, organize, and communicate information
Paraphrasing | Notetaking

Step 5. Comply with legal, ethical, and moral standards
Plagiarism | Copyright | Alternatives to Copyright

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Dora Rowe
She / Her