Skip to Main Content

James B. Duke Memorial Library: Steps in the Research Process

Databases accessible to JCSU faculty and students.

Steps in the Research Process

Steps in the Research Process   

  • Identify and develop your topic
  • Do a preliminary search for information
  • Locate materials
  • Evaluate your sources
  • Make notes
  • Write your paper
  • Cite your sources properly
  • Proofread

Strategy for writing a research paper.

  • Identify and develop your topic

Select a topic within the REQUIREMENTS set by the assignment.

Pay attention to requirements and guidelines as to what you can and cannot write about.

Do an initial search of information sources to determine whether existing sources will meet your needs. If you find too much information, you may need to narrow your topic; if you find too little, you may need to broaden your topic.

  • Do a preliminary search for information

Do a preliminary search to determine whether there is enough information out there for your needs and to set the context of your research. 

When you locate the book on the shelf, look at the books located nearby; similar items are always shelved in the same area. 

  • Locate materials

Print or write down the citation information (author, title, etc.) and the location (call number and collection) of the item(s).

Use JCSU library's databases to find magazine and newspaper articles.


Arts & Humanities Database 

Biological Science Database 

Business Market Research Collection 

Career & Technical Education Database

Computer Science Database

Consumer Health Database

CQ Researcher

Credo Reference

Criminal Justice Database

E-book Central

Digital Public Library of America 

Films on Demand



NC Health Info

ProQuest Central


SIRS Issues Researcher

  • Evaluate your sources

Evaluate the Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness- SUCH AS - fairness, objectivity, moderateness, and consistency, where did this information come from? Make sure information is truthful, and reliable.

  • Make notes

Note the information that will be useful in your paper. Be sure to document all the sources.

  • Write your paper

Organize the information you have researched and collected. Follow up with a rough draft. Revise the draft as many times as needed. Create a final product to turn in to your instructor.

  • Cite your sources properly

Cite or document the sources used in your research. Give proper credit to the authors of the materials used.

  • Proofread

Check for any errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Make sure you cite correctly. Make sure your deliver and message are understood by the readers and thoroughly stated.

Contact us if you have any questions

Address100 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte NC, 28216


CARS Checklist

 CARS stands for (Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support)- CARS is designed to assist researchers in evaluating information sources.

Credibility is a measure of the authenticity or reliability of the source of information. To determine credibility, you may ask: Why should I believe this source of information over another? How does this source know this information. What is it about this source makes it believable (or not)?

Accuracy- The goal of the accuracy test is to ensure that the information is actually correct: up to date, detailed, exact, and comprehensive. 

Reasonableness-The tone of the article should be factual and thoughtful. A good information source will possess a calm, reasoned tone, arguing or presenting material thoughtfully and without attempting to get you emotionally worked up. Be aware that some individuals and organizations are naturally not neutral. Be on the lookout for slanted, biased, or politically distorted work.

Support -What sources did the information creator use? Is there a bibliography or other documentation? How does the writer know this? Do other sources agree with the information in this source? The claims made in the article are supported by facts and/or figures, the source of which is clearly noted.