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Research Process

Integrating your sources

The video above will help you make sense of utilizing your sources correctly. If you want a how-to type of book on academic writing, check out the titles below.



Downs-Jones Library. (2012, August 15). Incorporating Sources into Your Research Paper. [Video File]. Retrieved from

Citing your Sources

We use citations to communicate information about our resources with our audience and other researchers. By citing our sources, we're letting our reader know that we're not claiming work that isn't ours. We're also giving them the information they need to find out more about these ideas should they be interested in learning more. Because of this, we want to make sure that our citations are as correct as possible to help researchers retrieve the information we're discussing as quickly as possible.

Visit our Citation Guide to find information on how to properly cite and integrate your sources using APA, MLA, and Chicago.



Avoiding Plagiarism - Cite Your Source (n.d.). Retrieved from

An outline can be as rough or organized as you (or your professor) want it to be. If your professor expects you to turn in an outline, make sure to follow all of their guidelines. If you're trying to create an outline on your own, you will have a bit more freedom in terms of how much you want to include.

Outlines can be organized like the one below (give or take a few details) or they can be a bit more bare-bones with just your main points. For more outline templates, check out Purdue Online Writing Lab's Types of Outlines and Samples page


  • Background information--why is this topic important? Why should we care? 
  • Thesis/Research Question

Literature Review (what are other researchers saying about your topic? Can you identify specific themes or arguments that people tend to make? How are they writing about your topic?)

  • Theme 1
  • Theme 2 (you may have more than two themes)
  • Review of what the literature says/what it means for your topic/paper

Point 1

  • What you want to say off the top of your head
  • Evidence to support point 1 (could be a direct quote, could be an article citation so you remember where you got your evidence from, whatever will help you most at this stage)

Point 2:

  • What you want to say off the top of your head
  • Evidence to support point 2

Point 3:

  • What you want to say off the top of your head
  • Evidence to support point 3


  • So what?--briefly review your main points/ why we should care
  • Reiterate thesis 
  • Explain the implications your paper has for your topic--what types of studies/questions should researchers consider next?


Types of Outlines and Samples. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Literature Review

A literature review can be a standalone research assignment. But, you're more likely to come across it as you read scholarly papers and write longer research papers. 

The literature review takes a close and thematic look at the literature that's published about your subject.

Because you're looking at a bunch of information that has been put out on your topic, it is essential to include opposing views in your literature review.

At this point, you're not necessarily arguing anything. Instead, you're giving your reader the relevant information already in the scholarly discussion that they need to be able to follow your paper and your arguments.

However, it's important to note that a literature review is not just a summary of your sources. It is a thematic study of your materials.

You're showing the reader how researchers have approached the subject over time. You do this by organizing your resources in a way that seems most logical (for example, theme, time, or argument).