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German Studies

A guide to the resources available at the UM Libraries for research in German languages, literatures, and cultures

The Research Cycle

The Research Cycle

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Research questions and brainstorming: Be nimble and think through where some interesting questions lie.

Heart of the problem: What is really the main point, the kernel, of what you’re researching?

Rephrasing: What are the alternate ways of phrasing your search to find more material?

Wikipedia, Google, etc.: What can you glean from the general knowledge about your topic?

Keywords and synonyms: What are the simple phrases that best describe what you’re looking for?

Targeted searching: Determine the SUBJECT information on your topic to explore and dive deeper

Revision/trial and error: This is a multi-step process and will take a lot of revision. Usually rethinking keywords.

Read: The more you read, the more sophisticated your searching will become. This is a crucial step in finding material.

Analyze: Scrutinize and interrogate what you find. Does it hold? What questions do you have of the material?

Synthesize: Think through the author’s thesis and boil their work down to drill their work into your research. Be critical.

Where does your topic fit in with your field?: Make a case for your research and find its place. Revision is important.

ID related topics: Are there fields that can help you in your research? What are those? How far do you need to go?

ID related works and authors: Find the authorities in the field as well as subsequent or superseding work

Hypothesis and new research questions: With this round of research, where do you stand? What are your questions now?

Start again!: You now have a much more sophisticated understanding of your topic. Keep going!