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AccessScience in the Research Cycle

Writing a Research Paper

Before you write, research!

lightbulb icon1. Choose a Topic

Come up with potential topics to begin researching.  Refine your topic as you find new information to focus in on a specific aspect. 

Use AccessScience to explore potential topics by browsing through briefings and news by topic.


book stack icon2. Find Background Information

Start with background information to get a general overview of your topic.  Make a list of key concepts, theories, and terms.  If you find that your topic is too broad, start narrowing in on more specifics.  

Articles in AccessScience are a great place to get started with background research!  Use the cross-reference links and related content sidebar to dive deeper into your topic with related AccessScience content.

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3. Gather Sources

Develop a search strategy to find additional sources to cover every aspect of your topic.  Each section you write should have findings from your research to support and illustrate your point.  

AccessScience articles are a citable source of secondary literature, and both articles and briefings also contain links to related primary literature.  These carefully selected references provide an easy way to start exploring original research.

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4. Evaluate Sources

Assess the validity of your sources by considering currency, reliability, authority, and purpose.  Evaluate your search strategy and change your search terms to find more relevant results. 

Check the author's affiliation to help determine credibility- are they associated with a university or other research institution?  AccessScience includes affiliation information in the byline of articles.

pencil icon5. Write & Cite

Don't forget to cite your research!  Gather citations as you search so you're not stuck trying to build your works cited list at the end.  Use a citation management tool to make this step even easier. 

When you find an article on AccessScience, use the cite button to quickly grab the citation in the style that you need.

Remember, research is a cycle

Research doesn't always flow through these steps exactly in order.  A good research strategy involves re-visiting each of these steps multiple times.