Research is not a simple linear process; it is a complex and challenging set of tasks. It becomes easier if you break down the process into manageable steps.
This guide will walk you through the process using the following sample project:
What is the current state of wind-power and wind-power plants in Maryland?
Before you can look for resources, you need to define your topic:
- What problem do you want to solve?
- What situation do you want to improve?
- Who has expertise on this topic? And, how can you get in touch with them?
Brainstorming Where to Find Information
This might be the thought process for our sample project:
Who is our audience?
Our group is addressing our proposal to the ...?
Who are the people most affected by or interested in our topic?
People interested in the development of alternative energy sources?
Manufacturers of wind turbines?
Operators of wind power plants?
Do the people affected by our topic produce information we can reference?
Articles in local newspapers?
Information produced by universities?
Information produced by environment organizations?
Information produced by the U.S. government? Department of Energy?
Information produced by the state or local government?
Information produced by manufacturers?
Information produced by electric utilities?
Where do we locate relevant information?
On a U.S. government web site?
Through a library database?
Through a general or targeted search through Google?
Through an arranged interview with an expert in this area?
Engineering & Physical Sciences Library (EPSL)
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742