The Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library

How to Start Your Research: A DIY Guide

Organizing and Integrating Sources

At this stage, you should have several sources that you would feel confident explaining the value and expertise of to your professor. Now we'll make sure we understand them well enough to support your argument. We know that scholarship is a conversation, in this step we are immersing ourselves in this conversation so we understand it well enough to contribute.

As part of this step you should:

  • -Read and re-read your sources, and take notes on their content, methods, context, and perspective.
  • -Outline your paper to identify major themes and ideas you’ll use in exploring and supporting your thesis.
  • -Identify which of your sources you’ll use in these different parts of your paper (the worksheet on the side can help with this!) and compare/contrast their ideas, evidence, approaches, and findings.

If you're having trouble with this step, you may need to go back to your searches to be more strategic in seeking out a specific scholarly conversation ("Finding Sources”). This may involve re-defining or narrowing your topic (“Choosing a topic”).

Looking for support on this step? Reach out to your librarian for strategies in reading, understanding, and using your sources. Writing Center Tutors can help you create an outline of your paper, which will help you identify where and how your sources might be used.

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Additional Material

If you are signed into your google drive account, you will be asked to create a copy of the Checklist and the Worksheet.  Click "Make a copy" to create your own copy which will be saved in your drive for your use.


DIY Research

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