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Research 101


Welcome to self-paced Research Tutorials from the Gann Academy library. Use this guide at any time according to your needs: to plan your research strategy; access the many resources available to you through our school; brush up on skills by watching short instructional videos; or read tip sheets on all aspects of the research process. Don't hesitate to contact your librarian with any questions or to set up a meeting for research support.

The 5 Steps of Research

These are the 5 basic steps in the research process, which are iterative. As you continue to read and reflect on your findings, you might find yourself changing your stance, asking new questions, or modifying your focus. There might be additional steps in your research depending on your teacher's requirements or the subject area. For example, you might be required to provide a thesis statement or a literature review. In which case, see the relevant pages in this research guide for information about these additional items. 

Understand Your Assignment

The first step is to understand your research assignment.

  • Read your teacher's instructions carefully
  • Make a note of any deadlines. 
  • Identify the purpose of the assignment. Is it to give an overview of an area of knowledge or to take a stance on an issue?
  • Think about the discipline as this will determine the content of your research. For example, a paper in science will require research and data. Humanities research will include a greater proportion of analysis and interpretation.
  • What type of resources will you be required to include? Can you choose any resources you want or are you required to include a range such as scholarly articles, books, multimedia, or social media posts, etc. 
  • What is the structure (or components) of your paper?
  • What is the citation style for your paper?