The Research Process

The Research Process

Watch this Click View video on how to search the web effectively.

The key to producing an outstanding assignment is effective research.  the research process can be divided into 6 steps. Following these steps will help you extend your knowledge on the topic and produce a high quality assignment that demonstrates all your learning.

Step 1: Define

This means defining the task and determining what you already know. 

  • Read the assignment sheet carefully to figure out exactly what it is asking you to do.
  • Write down everything you already know about the topic
  • Write down any questions you have, or things you want to know more about.

Step 2: Locate

This means finding information on your topic.

  • Use Oliver (the library catalogue) to search for resources avilable in the eHub 
  • Search other library catalogues such as ACT Public Libraries or the National Library of Australia (check out our catalogues page for links)
  • Search the internet for relevant websites
  • Check the vertical file for articles about social or environmental issues (these make good primary sources)
  • Look the topic up in an encylopedia

Step 3: Select

Once you have found information, you need to decide if it is exactly what you need.

  • Not every resource you find will be useful- it's OK not to use everything you find
  • For books, check the contents and index pages- does the book have the information you need?
  • For websites, scroll through the page and skim read any headings- does the page have the information you need?
  • For websites, does the information seem credible (reliable)? Has it come from a reliable source? (check out our evaluating websites page for tips)
  • Is the information presented in a format you can understand?  If it is too hard, it's OK to use something else

Step 4: Organise

This means organising what you already know and new information in a way that you understand.

  • Take dot point notes rather than copying and pasting chunks of information- this will help you avoid plagiarisim
  • Use headings to organise your notes
  • Remember to record where you got your information from so you can write your bibliography later
  • Use graphic organisers, pictures or diagrams to help you understand the information

Step 5: Present

This means pulling all your notes together to write up your assignment in your own words.Flesh out your dot points into full sentences and paragraphs

  • Include properly referenced quotes to support your ideas
  • Include pictures, graphs, diagrams etc where appropriate (remember to reference where they came from if you didn't draw them yourself)
  • Make sure you have addressed the assignment task fully
  • Proof read your work carefully
  • Include a bibliography

Step 6: Evaluate

This means reflecting on your work.

  • Are you happy with what you produced (have you done your best)?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • What did you learn from doing this assignment?