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Lee and Jim Vann Library

Subject Guides

Information Literacy and the Research Process: Home

This guide was created to address the information literacy general education outcome.


Information Literacy

Identify an information need, find and evaluate resources, and incorporate new information into one's current knowledge

Welcome and introduction

Introduction to Scholarly Inquiry and the Research Process

The purpose of scholarly inquiry and research you do as a college student is to help you to connect classroom learning with your assigned projects, and to connect those projects with your future interests and career goals. Research and inquiry is your opportunity to explore the most current scholarly information on a topic, to go in-depth with a specific focus, and to develop your own ideas from what you have learned.

Understanding the Research Process

The research process is cyclical in nature.The basic steps of the research process don't always need to be done in order. You may jump around or go back and forth in the process as needed. 

  1. First, identify a topic and develop questions about your topic. 
  2. Do a preliminary search to learn more about your topic. 
  3. Narrow your topic to a specific and interesting aspect of your original topic
  4. Formulate a thesis.
  5. Begin searching for the resources you will use.

As you research you may gather information that does not support your original thesis or you may change your opinion about your topic. In that case, you would go back to the first step and continue to ask more questions about your topic. Change or narrow your topic further, then revise  and continue your search for information.

Contrary to what you may believe about research (Badke, 2013), writing a research paper can be a great experience, especially when you become familiar with the tools of writing and research. 

In order to write a successful academic paper you will need:

  1. An understanding of the research process
  2. An understanding of the information cycle
  3. Ability to choose and narrow a topic
  4. Ability to write a thesis statement
  5. Ability to search for appropriate information
  6. Ability to evaluate information
  7. Ability to properly use citations to give attribution to your sources
  8. Ability to synthesize your own ideas from the information you use

Understanding the research process is key to achieving academic success. The following tutorials will help you understand the process and become familiar with the tools you need.

Before starting the tutorials, please take this pre-assessment to see how much you already know!


Works Cited

Badke, W. B. (2013). Things We (Might) Believe about University Research. Retrieved from

Ask A Librarian

Ask A Librarian

If you have any questions about the Research Process, using library resources, or completing these modules, please contact one of our Reference Librarians via the contact information below. You can always call a librarian at 260.638.VANN (8266). Librarians are also available through text at 260.222.5054.


Reference Librarians

Kerri Killion-Mueller, MLIS

Reference & Instruction Librarian

260.399.7700, ext. 6046

Amber Pavlina, MA, MLS

Reference & Instruction Librarian

260.399.7700, ext. 6067





Lee & Jim Vann Library

Pope John Paul II Center

First and Second Floor

Room 101 & 201