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Perks of Being a WallFlower: Research Process

Guide to the novel by Stephen Chbosky.

Doing Research by Making Lists

Helpful Videos from North Carolina State University

Tips for Better Research

  1. Research is part of your writing process.  Write before, during, and after doing research.

  2. Learn a citation manager--RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley, or another one.  Use it to keep track of your references and to help you insert citations into your writing.  [Dealing with References tab]

  3. Make your working bibliography first.  A working bibliography is larger than your final bibliography, consisting of likely prospects that you will examine as you read them.  

  4. Take notes as you read.  Record page numbers on every note.  Write something in your own words with every note.  These two practices will help to keep you from committing plagiarism.

  5. Consult a librarian when you are stuck in your research process. Go to the Writing Center to get help with your writing. Asking for assistance will save you time and give you a better result in the long run.

Updated Technology Tools for Research Process

Tools for Optimal Flow  by Meredith Farkas

This article from American Libraries (2012) talks about many new tools that can speed your research process.

Ideas about Documenting Your Sources

Using a Working Bibliography to Save Time  (Adapted from Miller 418-419)


A "working bibliography" is a list of the sources you found that you believe are most likely to give you the information you need. 


As you use the items, you can type in comments about each in a notes folder. Or, you can turn one copy of your working bibliography into your notes page while a second copy forms the basis of your bibliography or Works Cited page. With electronic documents, both of these variations and more are possible.


Organizing and Taking Notes to Avoid Plagiarism  (Adapted from Miller 419-420)


  • Make separate folders in your word processor, citation manager, or email account for each paper or project.

  • Document what you find as you go by sending references, abstracts (article summaries), and even full text to yourself as you discover them.  If you use RefWorks or another citation manager, export your items so that you keep track of everything.

  • Keep all your downloads, output from periodical indexes and databases, lists of sources, electronic documents, and notes you write for each project together in the same folder (Miller 419).

  • For your own protection, keep your searches, working bibliographies, note files, and versions of the paper until you receive your final grade for the course.

  • Take notes in a way that automatically avoids plagiarism. All you have to do is:


a) Key every one of your notes to a source and page number; and  


b) Differentiate clearly between the material you have quoted and your own words as you take notes.


Here is an example of a bibliography entry using an online periodical article in MLA 8th format:


Miller, Kristin. "Developing Good Research Habits: Encourage Students to

Create a Working Bibliography Online." College & Research Libraries

News. 61 (2000): 418-20. Library Literature & Information Science .

Full Text (H.W. Wilson),


Your notes page might look like this:


Miller, 2000 [source]


p. 419 "Using e-mail to collect citations allows the researcher to reformat them into a working bibliography on the computer and operating system that will be used to do the majority of the word processing." [Quotation, fact or even paraphrase and exact page number]


My note:  You should save your electronic searches in your email, even if you print them out somewhere for convenience. [These are your own words and thoughts about what you have read. Invent your own code if you wish, but be sure to label your own words to keep them separate from what you have read. If you used a paraphrase/explanation in your own words, you would still give it an in-text citation, just like the direct quotation.]


What Needs to Be Cited  (Reformatted from an unpublished lesson by Dr. Carter Daniel, Rutgers Business School)


"You must acknowledge not just


  1. Direct quotations, but

  2. Paraphrases of what somebody else said even though you've re-phrased it in your own words,

  3. Ideas you've picked up from a source, and even

  4. Any fact that isn't common knowledge.


In short, you have to acknowledge everything you've gotten from a source." 


Works Cited


Daniel, Carter A. Personal interview, 8 Dec. 2009.

Miller, Kristin. "Developing Good Research Habits: Encourage Students to

Create a Working Bibliography Online." College & Research Libraries

News. 61 (2000): 418-20. Library Literature & Information Science .

Full Text (H.W. Wilson),


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