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Getting Started with Research

Your guide to Research, Plagiarism, Copyright, Citation, Style Guides, and Writing Guides

Introduction to Research Projects

The Assignment

What's on this page?

Need more help?

A picture of a student working

If you need more help than this page provides, check out Augsburg's Writing Center, on the main floor of Lindell Library.

They can help with all parts of a writing assignment, including:

  • Understanding assignments
  • Analyzing a topic
  • Constructing a thesis
  • Writing style and formatting
  • Punctuation and proofreading
  • Citation questions
  • and more!

Understanding the Assignment

So, you have an assignment...

Before you dive in, take a moment to step back and...

Make sure you understand your professor's assignment.

This might not be as simple as it looks. Imagine yourself summarizing it for a friend or roommate.

Can you re-write or say the assignment in your own words?

  • Does the assignment describe the outcome in detail?
  • How many pages should it be? How many minutes should the presentation run?
  • Does it specify what kinds of sources you should be drawing from?
  • Does it give a style guide, like MLA, for you to follow?

Figuring this out now will save you a lot of time and effort later.

Finding Sources

You can find many different types of sources here at the library:

  • Books
  • Articles from scholarly journals
  • Articles from newspapers
  • Websites, including statistics and government reports
  • Videos
  • Audio files

Are you a smart searcher?


Is that website a good source?


Having trouble searching?

Talk to a librarian!

No full text? Click the Find It! button by the article to get it elsewhere, or to order it.

Search Augsburg

  • Books at Augsburg | Scholarly articles from a selection of our databases

Find a Topic

Search Newspapers

  • Newspaper articles in specific databases

Assembling a Bibliography

The Bibliography

Toward the end of your project, you'll start assembling your sources into a bibliography, a list of all the sources you used in your project. This is usually written down according to the rules of a style guide, like MLA or Chicago.

Check the assignment, or ask your professor, to find out which style you should use.

No matter where your information is from, whether a scholarly database or even your personal interview with a source, it's important to document it thoroughly.

You'll find more information on citation styles and why they are important in the next few pages.

Using a consistent style reassures your professor, and anyone else who reads your paper or sees your presentation, that your information and opinions are trustworthy.


Build Your Research Skills

Image: JSTOR "Source Scout" logo