Need Help with Research?

Definition of Research: The collecting of information about a particular subject. – (2019)

Research is a primary aspect of the academic experience. For students that have never researched for a writing assignment, it can be overwhelming. Hopefully, the five steps below will help to simplify the process. Before starting, please answer the questions below.

  • Do you understand the assignment? If not, ask questions for clarification
  • What type of writing assignment do you have: Writing a paragraph, essay, article critique, or research paper?
  • What model of writing is required: informational, persuasive, compare and contrast…?

Typically, it is easier to write about something you know, interested in knowing or passionate about. If you need help locating a topic, the following databases can provide items to choose.

  • America’s News
    U.S. news content from local, regional, and national sources
  • Issues and Controversies
    Helps researchers understand today’s crucial issues by exploring hundreds of hot topics
  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context
    Portal of “pro” and “con” information about topics of the day. Click on “Issues” on the top navigation strip to browse all issues
  • Points of View
    A series of essays on controversial issues that present multiple sides of a current issue.

To develop the topic, can you answer What, Where or How to concentrate on one aspect and not the broad topic?

Depending on the number of resources you need, it can be a combination of books, periodicals and multimedia.

Books: Do you want a print book to borrow or eBooks?

Use the Online Catalog to locate print books. Your college ID is required to borrow materials.

eBooks: Use Credo Reference or Gale EBooks (digital reference books) to gather essential information on the topic.

Articles: Do you need general interest, academic journals or peer-reviewed information?

  • General Interest magazines – article located in titles such as Better Homes and Garden, Time Magazine or newspapers.
  • Academic journal – author researched the topic and provided a listing of references used.
  • Peer-Reviewed – the article has met a listing of criteria to be included in the publication and reviewed by experts in the field.

Select the appropriate category from our Databases or select Database Collection to use a multidisciplinary source as a starting point to locate information. 

While reviewing the information, select those items you would like to use and become knowledgeable on the topic without copying and pasting from the original documents.

Multimedia: Would you like to view a video or locate images?

  • On the Databases page, select the Multimedia category Master Academic Collection. There are subject-specific media listed in other categories.
  • Image Quest can be used to locate images.

The credibility, authenticity and accuracy of the information should not be ignored. The document below will provide more insight into accomplishing this.

These tools will assist while drafting and rewriting the paper.

Help with vocabulary:

Use online dictionaries and thesauruses to improve your paper
Your Dictionary
OneLook Dictionary Search

Create Introductory and Thesis Statements: 

These interactive sites make thesis statements easy and fun
Thesis Builder
Thesis Statement Generator

Help writing and creating an excellent scholarly paper:

Assignment Calculator
Essay Writing 
Academic Writing Guide for College Students
Research Paper, Writing
Homework Center Writing Skills
Grammarly Handbook

Proof paper for grammatical errors

Use the Southwest email to create an account in Grammarly to edit and correct your paper.

Compiling Citations

The majority of the library databases will provide a citation generator tool to create citations automatically

Other recommended Citation Generators/Style Manuals

It is still your responsibility to ensure the citations are formatted correctly.


Related Links

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