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ENG 152 : Keywords and Database Searching for Dual Credit

Research Process

Before you find sources to evaluate, it's important to understand the steps of the research process so you know what to expect when searching for information to evaluate. The image below outlines the basic steps of the research process.

  1. Start with your research question.
  2. Identify the main concepts of that question. These will usually be words in your question.
  3. Brainstorm keywords related to the main concepts. These will be the words you use to search for information.
  4. Choose your search tools. For scholarly peer-reviewed sources, start with library databases at MCC or at your high school and use the limiters. The library catalog is a good source for books, both electronic and in print. Electronic books, or eBooks, are available to you 24/7 without a library card.
  5. Test your search. Were the keywords you chose helpful? Did you get too many or too few results? Were the results relevant?
  6. Revise your search. It's unusual to find exactly what you want after your first search. Try other keywords or even other databases. You may need to repeat steps 4 - 6 a few times. Don't get discouraged! You can always ask a librarian for help

You're welcome to use this worksheet to guide you through the research process. ENG_152_research worksheet-1.pdf 

The video in the next section talks about steps 2 and 3 of the research process: identifying the main concepts of a research question, then brainstorming keywords to help your research. We'll use the same sample research question throughout this module: How does social media advertising influence consumers?