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Research Toolkit

A guide to doing research at the Middlebury Libraries, from start to finish.

Research Process in Nine Steps

When you're working on a research project, figuring out what to do next is sometimes difficult. Here's one version of the research process. Try it out! It might help you become even more productive than you already are.

  1. Select a topic    

  2. Draft a research question    

  3. Brainstorm keywords    

  4. Search, and revise your search    

  5. Find 3-5 useful sources    

  6. Preview your sources to see how well they answer your question    

  7. Revisit your research question    

  8. Repeat steps 2-7 until you're ready to start writing or revising    

  9. Prepare your citations and bibliography 

Talk with a librarian about YOUR research process. Find us at the Research Desk or online at


Where to search?

First, try LibrarySearch ( and ProQuest Central ( Then, go to a research guide ( and select a database based on your topic and question.

Need scholarly articles?

Learn how to distinguish between scholarly and popular sources in this guide: Scholarly vs. Popular (

Finding relevant information on websites? 

This guide provides tips for savvy use of online news sources:  Internet News, Fact-Checking and Critical Thinking (

How to revise a research question?

Ask yourself if it should be more specific or more broad, or if it needs to focus on a different aspect of the topic. Anticipate revising your question and your search throughout the research and writing process. 

How to cite sources?

Record the citation information of the sources you find so that you can easily cite them later. For more advice on citing sources, read our guide:  Citation & Style (