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This is the "Introduction" page of the "How to do Research" guide.
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Last Updated: Aug 19, 2016 URL: http://libguides.pointloma.edu/Research Print Guide RSS Updates

Introduction Print Page


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

Need help? Ask us!

Text us: (619) 592-8884

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All LibGuides at PLNU


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.


Books? Why would I want to use a book?


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 (see Step 3)
  • websites from news organizations (see Step 4)
  • databases (see Step 3)
Information about a specific organization/company
  • websites (see Step 4)
  • company profiles (see Step 3)
Research article
  • scholarly journals (see Step 3)
Personal accounts
  • magazines (see Step 3)
  • news articles (see Step 3)
  • blogs (see Step 4)
  • websites (see Step 4)
  • scholarly journals (see Step 3)
History, overview, definitions (scholarly)
  • subject encyclopedias (see Step 1)
  • books (see Step 2)
History, overview (popular)
  • magazines (see Step 3)
  • books (see Step 2)

Annotated Bibliography Assignment - College Compostion

This assignment will be distributed to all College Composition classes during their first Library Research Instruction Session.  A copy of the assignment is provided here for convenience, as well as a copy of a sample paper.


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

Read more about it in St. Martin's Handbook

PLNU's College Composition courses use the 8th Edition of the St. Martin's Handbook as a guide to research.

Product Details Read Part 3 for an introduction to the research process.

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