Skip to Main Content
Montana State University - Home Montana State University Library - Home Ask the Library

Library Image and Infographic Descriptions

Graphic Description

The Research Process

(The graphic shows 5 steps of the research process arranged around in a cyclical, circular way, instead of a linear way)

Research is an iterative process. Instead of straightforward and linear, it is repetitive and cyclical. As you move through the steps to learn, you should modify and revise your strategies. Don't be afraid to return to an earlier step to reset your process!

  1. Choose a Topic (your information need, aka thesis or topic)
  2. Narrow Your Search (Wikipedia, Textbooks, Books, Newspapers, Google)
  3. Find Sources (CatSearch, Library Databases, Bibliographies, Footnotes) (CHECK: Are you finding enough sources? If not, you may need to return to #1 and refine your topic.)
  4. Evaluate Information (Ask the 6 question words - who, what, where, when, why, how - to determine if the source is good) (CHECK: Think! Are your sources the best evidence to support your argument? If not, return to #3.)
  5. Organize & Cite (Citation software can help: Endnote, Mendeley, Zotero) (CHECK: Synthesize and take good notes! Don't fall victim to plagiarism when you write.)

Use the side navigation to learn more about each step.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License