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MGT100 - Management & Organizational Behavior (Frkal, Fall 2016): Starting Your Research

What is Research?

A good research paper begins with a good question It is not just an explanation of or report about a topic.

You start with a question, collect data or information, synthesize the data/information, analyze the data/information in light of the question, and then make your conclusions about the question.

1. Brainstorm 3 or 4 possible research questions for your topic. Ask yourself, "What do I want to know?" List the questions you have thought of.

2. Choose one of those questions as the one you will use, and state it.

3. Drawing on your chosen question, draw up a preliminary outline of 3 or 4 points (your outline) you will need to cover to respond to your chosen research question.

This is your thesis statement- or a hypothesis of the answer to your research question.  Since you haven't collected all the data/information yet, it is only a proposal of what your conclusion may be.  You will need to demonstrate whether this proposal is correct. Remember, though, to look at all sides of the question.  Don't just select information that proves your hypthesis is correct!

Topic creation

Refining Keywords to Search

This worksheet focuses on identifying the main concepts in your research question, generating synonyms for those concepts, and structuring your search for more effective searching and more productive search results.

Further Resources

Off Campus Access

Provide your Assumption College email login and password information in order to access the Library’s catalog, e-books and databases of journal articles from off campus.

After your topic, shape your outline

Steps of the Research Process

1. Get an overview of your subject.  Use reference sources (print or online) such as those listed to the right to get background information.

Example: racism in the judicial system

2. Define and refine your topic.

Example: What role does racism play in death penalty convictions?

3. Identify key terms, concepts and search terms.


  • racism--> racism, bias, discrimination, prejudice, etc.
  • death penalty--> death penalty, capital punishment, death row, etc.
  • convictions--> convictions, sentencing, appeal, judge, jury, etc.

4. Find resources. 

  • Find Books using the library catalog.
  • Find Articles using a library database. Be sure to consider whether to use scholarly or popular articles.
  • Find Websites using a good search engine.

5. Request books and journal articles that we don't own through InterLibrary Loan or visit other libraries in the Worcester area (ARC).

6. Evaluate your information, including the number and kinds of sources.

7. Cite your sources properly, and always avoid plagiarism!  See the Citing Your Sources tab or our Writing/Citing guide for help.

If you want additional help with your research, see our Basic Research Guide.