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Library Resources for International Students: How to Begin Your Research

Reference & Research Help

Ways to Get Research Help


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How to Begin Your Research

How to Tackle a Research Assignment

So, you just got your assignment from your instructor and you don't know where to begin? Let's break it down:

  • Set a timeline for yourself and stick to it. Give yourself time to review the research question, refine your topic, do your research, and write your paper.
  • Read the instructor’s assignment description carefully. Be sure to answer every question s/he raises.
  • Pick out keywords from the assignment description.
  • Do a preliminary search for articles and books at the library using your keywords. Try the searching strategies we learned in our library session.
  • Leave yourself plenty of time in case you need to order books from other schools.
  • Refine your topic based what you learn by reading the sources you find.
  • Search for more sources if necessary.
  • Leave time to ask a librarian if you get stuck!


If you come to the library don't forget to bring:

  • Your ID to the library—you’ll need it to make copies and to check out books, DVDs, and reserves.
  • Paper and pen or pencil for jotting down notes, keywords, or call numbers.
  • A USB/flash/jump/thumb drive to save your work off of the library computers.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.