Knight-Capron Library

Research Process: Getting Started

A guide to doing research using the library.

Getting Started

1. Pick a topic, whether it is assigned or chosen by you.

  • Ex:  Your topic is Sustainable Development.

2. Write down what you know about the topic.

  • Ex:  Sustainable development is a concept in which we try to keep the environment able to sustain life as it did before people used the resources we have today.

3. Search your topic using general reference sources to get an overall understanding of your topic.

  • Ex:  Search "Sustainable Development" on reference sources, such as CredoReference as seen below.
  • Looking at these sources can either give you a better understanding on the basics of the topic or reinforce your original understanding of the topic.

4. Write down what you want to know or what you find interesting about your topic that you would like to know more about.  For instance, write down a few questions after reading a few general reference sources.

  • Ex:  What are the areas affected by sustainable development and how they have become widely known to the general public?
  • Ex:  What types of policies were made to enforce sustainable development in Virginia?

Try Starting Your Research Here

The Library offers a great tool for finding the background information you need to begin your research for paper or presentation.


Credo Reference is an easy-to-use tool for research projects and homework. Search in hundreds of encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, quotations, and subject-specific titles, as well as 200,000+ images and audio files, and nearly 100 videos.