Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Writing and Rhetoric

Browse library resources for the study of Writing and Rhetoric (go/wrprguide/)


This website will help you find the best library databases, search tools, and reference sources for Writing and Rhetoric.

Not Sure Where to Start?

Steps in the Research Process

Talk with a librarian about your research anytime: go/askus/

When you begin working on a research project, it can be helpful to consider all of the steps in the research process. Record your ideas and keep track of your progress; this ensures that you’ll always know what to do next. Here is one version of the research process. Try it out and see how it works for you!

  1. Select a topic
    • Librarians can help you refine, narrow or broaden a research topic.
  2. Draft a research question
    • ​​Librarians can help you turn your topic into a question (and we can explain why it's helpful to do this).
    • Even after you've started researching and writing, you may need to revise your research question or your research topic. For example, if you have trouble answering your question in a convincing way then the question might be too broad. Or, if you're not able to find enough evidence then your question might be too specific. It's also possible that you'll decide that so much research has already been done on your topic that you'll want focus on a different aspect of it.
  3. Brainstorm keywords
    • Librarians can help you think of keywords to jump-start your search.
    • It's normal to look for additional sources during all stages of the research and writing process. Often, it's only through the process of writing drafts that we recognize gaps in our knowledge, evidence or arguments. To find more sources, you'll probably need new 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
    • ​​Do you have enough for now, or do you need more? 
  7. Revisit your research question
    • ​​Should it be more specific, more broad, or should it focus on a different aspect of the topic?
  8. Repeat Steps 2-7 until you're ready to start writing or revising
    • When you feel like you'll be able to answer your question with the sources you've gathered, it's time to start writing.
    • Even after you've begun writing, you'll periodically revisit your research question, and you'll repeatedly assess how well your sources answer the question.
  9. Prepare your citations and bibliography

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

Ask a Middlebury Librarian