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Research & Writing: Research Overview

Help with writing and conducting research, including resources for starting your research


How to Read a Text Critically - From Harvard Library, this provides a step-by-step guide on how to read a text critically. Following these steps will help you to absorb more information for a longer period of time.

Research Process

The research process is not a straight line - it can twist and turn as you learn more. Don't be afraid to follow up on information that interests you - it's easier to write about a topic if you're interested in it!

Additional tips:

  • Be willing to tweak your vocabulary - authors may use different words that mean the same thing (i.e. illustrator, artist, draftsman, etc.)
  • Read article abstracts to ensure they will work for your paper - don't just grab the first articles that include your search terms

Infographic of circular research lifecycle. Circle starts with: identify topic or question; find sources relevant to your topic; analyze sources (with arrow pointing back to finding sources); synthesize information and your ideas; present, publish or share your findings.

Evaluating Your Sources

Not all of the information on the internet is reliable. Some things to think about: 

  • Who is the author? Do they have a background or education in the topic?
  • Where is it published? Is the site reputable?
  • Does it cite its sources? Information isn't created in a vacuum; does it acknowledge others' research?
  • How in-depth is the information? Is it well written?
  • Can you detect a bias in the writing? What is that bias?
  • When was it written? Does the age of the information make a difference in how accurate it is?

Some good places to find reliable information:

  • Museum websites
  • Educational sites (.edu or Khan Academy / smarthistory, etc.)
  • Government sites (.gov)
  • Reputable news sources (New York Times, Washington Post, etc.)
  • Primary sources (artist interviews, etc.)

For more information, see the guide on Evaluating Information (including images).

College for Creative Studies website