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An online reference guide for students, faculty, and staff in the Curriculum & Instruction Department.
Last Updated: Jun 19, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Everyday you seek information.

“You do research every time you ask a question and look for facts to answer it, whether the question is as simple as finding a plumber or as profound as discovering the origin of life… research is as important outside the academy as in, and in most ways it is the same. So as you practice the craft of academic research now, you prepare yourself to do research that one day will be important at least to those you work with, perhaps to us all.” (Turabian, 2007, 5)

Booth (2008) reminds us that research is a complex and iterative process; you have likely found this to be true.

"Doing research carefully and reporting it clearly are hard work, consisting of many tasks, often competing for your attention at the same time. And no matter how carefully you plan, research follows a crooked path, taking unexpected turns, sometimes up blind alleys, even looping back on itself...When you can manage its parts, you can manage the often intimidating whole..." (pp. 4-5)

As you plan and carry out your research remember that there are many people at UM to help you with the process, including librarians.

Feel free to contact me for assistance.



This guide provides an introduction to research resources and the research process for members of the Curriculum & Instruction Department and others researching C&I topics. In addition to the front page, be sure to consult the tabs above.

Feel free to contact me.


Research Steps

While research ‘follows a crooked path’ the following steps from Walker & Janes (1999) can help you get started with searching for sources to use in papers, presentations, etc., as well as to grow your knowledge:

  1. Select and understand your research topic and question.
  2. Identify the major concepts in your topic and question.
  3. Brainstorm potential keywords/terms that correspond to those concepts.
  4. Identify alternative keywords/terms (narrower, broader, or related) to use if the first set of words doesn’t work.
  5. Determine logical (Boolean*) relationships between terms.
  6. Begin your search (e.g., in the library catalog, electronic databases, Internet).
  7. Review your search results.
  8. Revise & refine your search based on the initial findings.

*Boolean logic provides three ways search terms/phrases can be combined, using the following three operators: AND, OR, and NOT.



Booth, W. C. (2008). The craft of research (3rd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Turabian, K. L. (2007). A manual for writers of research papers, theses, and dissertations (7th ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Walker, G., & Janes, J. (1999). Online retrieval: A dialogue of theory and practice (2nd ed.). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.


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