Research is an iterative process, it contains repetition. It is helpful to think of the steps you will complete while researching as a circle rather than a straight line.
In the past, you may have considered research as a linear process. Your professor assigns a research project, you pick a topic, find and read sources, write and edit your paper, and then turn it in. In actuality, the research process is a lot messier than this.
We should consider the research process as something that occurs cyclically. Even something as seemingly straightforward as choosing a topic is a part of the research process that requires reconsideration and reevaluation. I challenge you to consider the research process a bit more like this:
Your professor assigns a research project, you select a topic that is interesting to you, and you test that topic by beginning to research and considering the 5W's in regard to your topic (Who, What, Where, When, Why). You determine keywords and conduct specialized searches. You find, read, and evaluate resources. Throughout this process, you should come back to your topic to reevaluate its relevance and usability. Maybe you're finding too many broad sources and need to narrow your topic. Or maybe, you're not finding enough, or anything at all. At this stage in the research process you should be shifting your topic and research question to that which will make the most compelling writing and research for you. Even when you go on to write and edit your paper, you may find yourself going back to this stage in the research process to continue to find, evaluate, and test topics or research questions.
This information was adapted from:
University of Houston Libraries [@universityofhoustonlibraries] (2020, October 29). Picking a topic is research. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndVCyU4Kt1o
Whenever the UHV Library is open, there is a librarian on-call in the library ready to help with any research questions you may have. They can be reached 5 ways: