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High School to College Transition: Starting your research project

The Research Roadmap

Thanks to Capella University for this image.

WKU Big RedSearch Cycle

Your professors, librarians, writing center consultants and many others on campus are there to help you succeed while you are at college. 

Here is a sample video the Western Kentucky University librarians created that describes the basics of a research project cycle.

Common student mistakes

What Faculty say

  • Over-reliance on Google. Professors report that students don’t often go beyond the familiar Internet search to find more scholarly resources
  • Don’t know which database or print resource to start with.  A university library can offer hundreds of databases, thousands of journals and millions of books. Students may be unsure about where to start their research.
  • Inability to read a citation. Is it a book? Is it an article? If students don’t know, they can’t find the articles and books the professor suggests for the research project.
  • Can’t tell the difference between scholarly and popular resources.  If a bibliography is full of questionable sources, it may be difficult for the professor to evaluate the quality of the student’s writing and analytical skills.

What Students say

  • I didn't start the research soon enough.
  • I did a great job of summarizing, but I failed to analyze.