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International Development: Doing Research

About this Page

Doing Research outlines the 5 steps to Doing Research and suggests a few student guides to doing research and theses writing.

Steps to Doing Research

Step 1: Select and define your topic

Discuss subject ideas with your professor or teaching assistannt.
Look over titles in specialized encyclopedias or handbooks that cover your topic.
State your topic as a question. Identify key words or the main ideas in your question.

Step 2: Find Background Information

Once you have identified your topic, begin library research by reading summaries of your topic. Subject encyclopedias and handbooks provide good information. Note relevant items in the bibliographies at the end of the articles. Additional information may be discovered in your textbook, lecture notes, or library reserve materials.

Step 3: Use the Library Catalog to find Books on your Topic

Use Primo to search for books on your topic. Primo includes books, e-books, e-journals, and databases in the libraries at the University of Waterloo, University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University. Note that journals, databases and indexes are listed by title only, and individual articles are not listed in Primo.

Step 4: Use Research Databases (Journal Articles)  to find journal articles about your topic

Journal articles can provide in-depth and scholarly research on a topic, as well as the latest information or thought on the subject. To find journal articles on your topic select an appropriate research database.


Step 5: Cite the Sources in a Standard Format

Choose a style that is recommended by your professor or academic department.

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