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.
View this page in a format suitable for printers and screen-readers or mobile devices.
915 South Jackson Street • Montgomery, Alabama 36101 • (334) 604-9093
How To Write A Research Paper
Step 1: Choose a topic.
Step 2: Locate information on your topic in books, articles, and other sources.
Step 3: Write your paper in APA style.
Step 4: Cite your sources in APA style.
Example of an Effective Search
If your assignment calls for you to find information on technology in schools, you may search for
technology AND schools or "technology in schools"
in a database (to find articles) or in the Library Catalog (to find books). Using quotation marks around the phrase tells the database to search for the words together, as a phrase.
When searching for articles, limit your search to match your search needs.
- For example, if you need scholarly (or peer-reviewed) articles, select the related box on the left side of the screen.
- If you need articles published in the last 5 years, change the dates on the left side of the screen to 2011-2016.
- If you're doing historical research, you can change the dates to find older information. For example, you could change the search dates to 1940-1960 and the database will list all articles published on your topic during that time frame.
- If you need articles on school technology related to economic class, you may want to search for "technology in schools" AND "middle class," etc.
- If you search for technolo* in a database, you will be given articles containing the word(s) technology, technologies, technologist, technological, etc.
- After you press Search, browse through the list of articles provided. Reading abstracts is a good way to know if an article is right for you. Abstracts can be found beneath the title of peer-reviewed articles.
- If you feel overwhelmed by a large number of articles, add another search term to limit results further. You can also click Full text to see only articles available in their entirety.
- Remember: If you don't find what you're looking for in a database, search a different database. Many different databases and ejournals are available to you. You might find only an abstract to an article in one database but a different database might have the full text, so explore all your options.