Review

Scholarly Research and Writing are closely linked and are an important part of higher education. Review the concepts covered in the Library Research Handbook.

The Scholarly Research Cycle consists of 6 steps: Background, Planning, Finding Your Way, Evaluating, Putting It All Together and Reflection. Often this process is linear but you may need to go back a step or two if you run into a dead end or change your preliminary topic.

1. Where do you want to go? Background
Scholars use research to learn. They build on the ideas of others and integrate their owns ideas with those of other scholars. Knowing how scholarly information is produced, the variety of information sources available and the importance of copyright and academic honesty give you a strong foundation to be successful as a scholarly researcher. Scholars use research to join the scholarly conversation.

2. Planning: Research Question and Topic
Having an idea of the audience and purpose for a research assignment will allow you be a more efficient researcher. Selecting a topic to match the scope and your instructor's expectations is a key step to success on the road to research. Planning a realistic timeline is your best defense against procrastination.

3. Finding Your Way: Searching and Sources
Finding the evidence you need to support your ideas and writings from the scholarly literature is at the heart of scholarly research. Effectively searching the Library databases and the Internet requires new skills and techniques. These skills include developing your search strategies (with keywords, Boolean operators, field searching, subject term searching, etc.), selecting a useful database or search engine, trouble shooting your search and more. Remember the Capella Librarians are available to answer your questions.

4. Evaulating: What did you find?
With so much information available it is important to critically evaluate your sources for credibility, relevance, timeliness and more before using them for your assignment. Reading your sources requires engaging with the content, responding to the authors' ideas and carefully gathering evidence to incorporate into your own writing. Identifying the seminal authors and theories in your discipline is important in both your academic and professional life. It is also helpful to use tools to organize the sources you find throughout your course and program. These are all essential parts of the scholarly research process.

5. Putting it all together: Writing and Citing
Using the sources, along with your own thoughts and experiences to join the scholarly conversation is the ultimate goal of research. Doing this in an ethical manner is a requirement to be part of the scholarly community. Quotes, paraphrases and summaries are ways to incorporate evidence along with your own ideas. Using a citation style such as APA is part of the conventions of scholarly writing. There are tools available to help with citing but a working knowledge of APA is part of being a scholar and assists in avoiding plagiarism.

6. Reflection: Where do you want to go now?
Reflecting on your research and writing process will allow you identify gaps and build your skills. Reflection also helps the scholarly research process become easier and more efficient and it helps you reach greater depth with your research.

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