Step 4: Research and gather information
Your initial plan should raise a series of questions and identify key words and topic areas which you can use to orientate your research for the essay. While reading informs your thinking, knowing what you need to find out will give your reading a purpose.
- Be sure to examine any assigned course readings that are relevant to your essay topic.
- If there was a lecture on the essay topic, did the lecturer recommend or refer to any particular author?
- Is there a list of recommended readings for the course? Refer to it for sources of information. Who has written what on the topic(s)? What is essential to read?
- Use the key words and topics gleaned from your initial plan for library keyword searches.
- Notemaking as you read helps you record how you know something and helps you avoid plagiarism.