Wilkes University

Overview of the Research Process



  • Most writers have difficulty writing because they have too much to say, not because they have too little,
  • Even when writers have a focused topic, they sometimes have difficulty writing because they don't know who their readers will be
  • More time planning = less time drafting

Getting Started

  • Survey your area of interest
  • Look at textbook headings
  • Book search using Library of Congress headings
  • CD-Rom and On-line databases
  • Standard manuals and guides
  • Start to narrow topic

Searching for Information

  • Use a variety of indexes and databases
  • Look at information in a variety of forms (print/digital; articles/books/journals)
  • Look for repetition in records
  • Continue to narrow topic

Writerly Drafts

  • Define what you want to say
  • List what you know
  • Search for missing information
  • Quickly generate continuous prose
  • Continue to narrow topic

Readerly Drafts

  • Define external audience
  • Assess audience's background and familiarity with topic
  • Anticipate audience's interests and biases
  • Reconcile the following: the data; your understanding; the audience's expectations
  • Search for missing information
  • Revise your message
  • Add documentation
  • Continue to narrow topic


  • Reassess audience and intent
  • Edit for language use
  • Incorporate standard documentation
  • Format according to standard conventions