Once you have selected a preliminary topic or research question you would like to explore, think about what type of information you need to research and know in order to make a well-rounded, thorough research paper.
For example, you might want to know:
Thinking through what type of information you want to find can help you in determining not only what you search, but also what types of sources might answer your information need and where to find them.
This chart shows what level of information you can find in different types of sources. Click the link following the image to view a larger image of the chart.
Connect what you want to know with what types of sources would have that information. Below are some examples of considering which sources would best fit the given information needs.
|Information Need||Source Type|
|Historical Context||Books, Encyclopedias, History Databases, Newspapers|
|Biographical Information||Biographical Databases, Books|
|Critical Responses||Journal Articles, Scholarly Blogs|
|Historical Reader Response||Newspapers (from time period), Journal Articles (from time period)|
|Contemporary Reader Response||Book reviews in magazines and journals, credible websites|
|Resources written about author||Bibliography|