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Research Process: Research Tips and Tools

Guidelines for a successful research experience. Adapted from the Copley Library Guide,

Need an Idea for a Research Topic?


Need an idea for a research topic? Look at the suggestions on these sites.


Check out the various topics that are covered in Points of View for possible research topics.

Research Project Calculator

Use this calculator to help you make the best use of your time. Put in your start date and when your paper is due and it will generate a timeline for you to follow to have your paper completed on time.

Assignment Calculator (Univ.of Minnesota) Will help you set up a timeline for yourself whether you are doing a research paper, lab report, oral presentation or creating a powerpoint.

Looking for Books

When looking for print books remember to write down the call number to locate them on the shelf. Our library uses the Dewey Decimal system.


Find eBooks either in Destiny OPAC or on FollettShelf, Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) or Ebsco eBooks collections

Pre-Research Strategies

Background Knowledge

Background research is essential for understanding concepts, terms, events, places and people who shape your topic.  This knowledge base needs to be built before you start your formal research.  Use this information to broaden or narrow your topic, formulate research questions, and build keywords.

Use Encyclopedias, Database articles or Reference books to help you fill in your background knowledge of your topic.


Use Britannica for background information or any of our databases.

Thesis Generator


Use this tool to help you develop a thesis statement.  Always get input and approval from your teacher.


Study Guides and Strategies : Note Card Creator : Create online notecards

Studyvibe : Notetaking Strategies : advice on notetaking strategies for when you are doing research and also for taking notes in class.

Summarizing, Paraphrasing and Quoting from Sources

Agnes Scott College Center for Writing and Speaking

Annotated Bibliographies : An Illustrated Guide (Carnegie Vincent Library)

The handout provides definitions and example of creating an annotated bibliography citation. Condensed from Annotated Bibliographies

Creating Your Outline

Online Storage Tips

It is Important to back up your files in multiple places if possible when doing research. Computers can crash and flash drives get lost. Make use of the following tips to keep you from panicking if you lose your flashdrive.

 Google Drive : Make use of your school Google account

 Dropbox : Use Dropbox to upload your documents you want to save and also your powerpoints. 

 Delicious : Use Delicious to save bookmarks of web pages you want to reference again.

 Symbaloo : Use to save bookmarks.