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MESA Teachers' Research Guide

Engineering Librarian & CAPLA Liaison

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Paula C Johnson
Main Library A403

Research Basics

The Research Path is Never Perfect!

Notice that the research process is a back-and-forth process and not a straight, linear one. You often find new sources or new information that takes you in a different direction, but this is part of a robust research process.

Research Process Infographic

Infographic created by Terri Bogan using Creative Commons License
The Research Process by Terri Bogan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

What to do when your topic is too broad

This FAQ post is helpful when you need to narrow your topic, which often happens when you are finding a lot of information.  The post provides additional links to topic issues.


Use a graphic organizer to help you plan your topic

Sometimes it can be challenging to determine the scope of your research project and to then find the best search terms for your topic.

This digital graphic organizer is useful to help you think through your questions related to your topic as a way to find appropriate search terms. Try it out!

use this digital graphic organizer to narrow your topic

Scientific Communication

Scientific communication includes many different types of sources, research processes, and search strategies.

Like the research process, it is not a linear process but requires an iterative process, a process in which you repeat, rework, and improve with every stage of the cycle.


This diagram has been adapted from Evolution of Scientific Information. [From Allan Kent and Harold Lancour, eds., Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science (New York, 1979), s.v. ”Scientific Literature,” by K. Subramanyam, 394].