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CEL100 Educational Strategies for Student Success: Introduction


The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of the research process.

The process outlined will demonstrate how to find sources for a research paper or project.  Specifically, you will learn how to find books, full-text articles, and useful internet sites. 

The information provided by this guide is an introduction to the research process.  It should not be viewed as a substitute for individual assistance on any topic. 

PLNU Reference Librarians are available to help with any research questions you may have.  You can contact us via:

Ask a Librarian

Chat with a librarian here! 

You can also connect via text message at 619-592-8884 or by email.

Before you Begin

Before you begin your research, you should:

  1. Think about what types of information you think you will need to find. 
  2. Decide what type of source would be the best place to find that type of information.

Here are some examples:

Type of information Where to find it
  • newspapers 
  • websites from news organizations 
  • databases 
Information about a specific organization/company
  • websites 
  • company profiles 
Research article
  • scholarly journals 
Personal accounts
  • magazines 
  • news articles 
  • blogs 
  • websites 
  • scholarly journals 
History, overview, definitions (scholarly)
  • subject encyclopedias 
  • books 
History, overview (popular)
  • magazines 
  • books 

Ryan Library Website

The Ryan Library website is your portal to all of your library research.

We suggest making a bookmark for the main Ryan Library page.

Choosing a Topic

Choosing and refining a topic is an important part of the research process.  One valuable resource for looking for topics is CQ Researcher, one of our Reference Databases.  This reputable periodical explores in-depth one current and relevant issue every week.  Since the database goes back to 1923, looking at the topics covered can give you some ideas for topics. Keep in mind that many times your topic will need to fit specific criteria assigned by your professor.

Once inside CQ Researcher, we recommend that you either:

  • Browse Topics
  • Browse Reports
  • Or use the search box at the top

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