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You're sitting in on your first class and suddenly the professor is telling you that you're going to be writing a research paper. And you panic. (That's completely normal.) It may seem to you at first that research is going to be hard and confusing because maybe it's been years since you last had to write a "paper".

Or perhaps, you're not worried at all; you could just use some help finding the resources available at Millikin's library.

Either way, this page was developed to help make your research more efficient by bringing together library guides, useful links, and online resources.

One of the most important things we want you to remember is that you are not alone!
You've probably heard it a million times already, but there really are no dumb questions.
If you're confused or curious, please just ask! It will save you a lot of time and worry.
Click here to find out about help at the library.


Steps in the Research Process

Writing a research paper may seem daunting, but do not worry because you can do it. Even if it seems like forever since you have had to write a paper, you have the skills necessary to be successful.

Essentially the research process is just organizing information and then explaining it. You do that every day. At work you understand your job, you write memos, make appointments and telephone calls, talk to repair professionals, manage employees, or order supplies. At home you explain life to your children, file your taxes, balance your checkbook, share your opinions, and figure out how to fix the leaky toilet.

Although these tasks may not seem the same as writing a research paper, they exemplify that you have the skills that you need. Writing a research paper is just another skill that needs to be learned. Click on the links below for help learning the research process.

Choosing Your Topic:
  Deciding what to write about.
Developing Your Topic:
  Getting your topic ready to begin researching.
Gathering Background Information:
  Gathering information to help you know your topic better.
Deciding which Sources of Information to Use:
  Deciding what types of resources would be the most useful to you for your topic.
Finding Articles, Books, and Internet Sites:
  Deciding what types of information sources to use, and then finding them.

Research Tips

There are numerous issues that you will need to be concerned with as you engage in research and the writing of papers. The following pages all provide information that will help you with questions about any of these issues.

Computer Help. If you find that you could use some Help and How-Tos about your computer and the programs on it, check out this page for links and information on many of your computer needs.

Millikin's Writing Center. For help with the writing process, call and make an appointment! You can even make appointments in the evenings or on Sundays.

Preventing Plagiarism - a guide for students. Plagiarism is a big issue on college campuses, including Millikin's. Do you know when you have crossed over the line and plagiarized a source? Guidelines and tips for avoiding plagiarism are included on this page.

Preparing an Annotation. On occasion you may be asked to complete an annotated bibliography. What is an annotated bibliography and how do you create one? Check this page for guidance.

Writing a Bibliography. You will be expected to write bibliographies for papers you write. The information contained here will help you as you write you bibliography and cite your sources.

Do we own it? This page provides information to help you determine whether or not Staley Library owns a particular periodical title and how you can find out whether it is available in full-text.

Note-Taking Strategies. Maybe it's been a while since you've done some research and you could use a little review of note-taking strategies.

Have a quick research question? Use the Ask-a-Librarian e-mail or instant messenger option.

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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL