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Willis N. Hackney Library

Starting Your Research

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about beginning a research project.

Creating a Research Plan

Make your search for resources more productive by using the following blank Research Plan worksheet:

  • Pose your topic in the form of a statement OR a question.
  • Choose 2-4 most important terms (keywords) drawn directly from your research statement/question and write each in the Keywords column in separate boxes.
  • In the synonyms column, write at least ONE synonym, or related term (broader or narrower) for each keyword.

Tip:  For ideas for synonyms/related terms, write down in the Synonyms/Related Terms column any subject headings from a helpful book or article citation record to use as potential search terms.

Sample Research Plans

The following sample research plans illustrate how a Research Plan can help you develop and keep track of search terms that are useful in finding information sources on your topic.  (For a blank form, and instructions on how to use it, see the Creating a Research Plan box below.) 

Subject-specific research guides

The following Subject Guides provide suggestions of databases and other tools for finding books, articles, citation help, and more that are narrowly focused on each discipline.