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Writing the Research Paper: Home

A guide to aid students with writing research papers


This guide provides a useful framework for the research process. It helps students to better understand their information needs and to distinguish among sources so that they can compose solid academic papers. For additional information on this topic, go to OWL's "Conducting Research" page.

Determining Your Information Need

Research is a process with many similarities to the writing process. As such, it is makes sense to work through some basic questions before you begin seeking out information. The following questions will assist you with framing your research question and conducting your search. They will also help ensure that you satisfy your audience. By considering all of your answers to these questions, you may better conceptualize your information need and pursue your research with confidence.

  • What does it mean to engage in academic research and writing?
  • What are the expectations/ assumptions in my field?
  • What are my course/ assignment requirements?
  • What fits my topic/ thesis?
  • What time and resource constraints do I face?

You may also wish to ask yourself some additional questions before you start and revisit them throughout your research.

  • What are the main ideas/arguments surrounding this particular topic?
  • What publications are specifically dedicated to this topic and related topics?
  • Who are the acknowledged experts in this area?

Library Guru

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Danielle O'Barto
Gangwish Library
Ottawa University
1001 S. Cedar St.
Ottawa, KS 66067