Steps in Doing a Library Research

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1ST: Choose a general topic
2nd: Read a little about it to know what specific topic interest you

3rd: Formulate a question on what you want to know

4th: Collect information to answer your question

5th: Formulate thesis statement

6th: Make an outline

7th: Write the research paper

8th: Type/ computerize the final draft

1. Choosing a general topic

If your instructor does not assign a general subject area, you may discover your general subject from the following instances:

• Observation

• Experiences

• Readings

• Radio programs

• Television talk show

• Conversations

• Class discussion

• Information obtained from surfing the internet

2. Doing a preliminary reading

a. Reading for an overview of the general subject

With a general topic in your mind, proceed with a search for a specific topic by taking an overview of your general subject.

b. Narrowing to a specific aspect of the general subject

Pare down your topic several times, for if it’s too broad, the tendency is for you to treat it too skimpily for an in-depth analysis, however if it’s too narrow that scanning a book or two suffices to answer your question, quality discussion may be unnecessary. Therefore, be sure that the topic is limited enough for you to discuss fully in the length prescribed by your professor.

3. Stating a Question/Problems

After you have made a final choice of an appropriate topic for your paper, ask what you want to know. This will give your work focus and direction because your question will become your research problem.

Steps that will lead you to a definite question/problem.

1st: Brainstorming- in ten minutes, jot down all questions that come to your mind.

2nd: Choose one- go over your list and choose one that looks to be the most promising choice.

3rd: Estimate your question- to do this, answer the next questions.

a. Is it neither too narrow nor too broad for the specific length of the paper and the time needed to complete it?

b. Will you be able to find sufficient sources of information?

4th: Improve your question.

Question Check:

1. Is it worded simply and clearly?

2. Will it have only answer; not many?

3. Is it interesting enough for you to enjoy working on it to the end?

4. Is it worth investigating?

4. Data Gathering

Besides library research, data for a research investigation may be obtained through other descriptive methods like surveys, interviews, observations and documentary analysis. However, since basic research is largely library research, the main information source will naturally be the library.


1. To find out if your selected topic will have enough sources of data

2. To prepare a working bibliography; and

3. To read and take notes.

5. Formulating a Thesis statement

Thesis statement is the main idea of the whole composition. This is also the term given to the unifying or controlling idea of a research paper. The Thesis statement is usually the sentence that answers the question stated in the third step in the writing of the research paper: stating a question that identifies the problem.

6. Making an Outline

At this stage of research preparation, you have accumulated a stack of note cards. You are more knowledgeable about your topic as your mind teems with ideas. With your tentative thesis statement and your note cards to give you direction, you are now ready to draft your outline.

Your outline may be either a topic outline or a sentence outline.

An outline follows either of these patterns:

Number-Letter sequence pattern









Decimal Pattern


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