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Academic Research: A Guide for International Students: Research Process

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University Libraries' Research Guides

University Libraries' Research Guides

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Introduction to Academic Research

What is an Academic Library?
An academic library is a central part of a college or university campus. Students often go to the library for a quiet place to study for their classes or to study in groups. Libraries are also the place where you conduct research for your school projects and assignments. You can find books, articles, even videos at the library. All you need to do is search the library's online catalog using a computer. It is very easy! There are also a lot of people at the library who can help you with your research. We're called librarians, and we want to help you succeed. Don't be afraid to ask for help!

What is Academic Research?
You will go to the library to:

  • Search for resources with: keywords, key phrases, subjects, topics, titles, authors’ names, periodical titles, call numbers
  • Find resources: books, articles, videos, audio, online and electronic files
  • Request a resource that is not available in the library
  • Print a document or file from a computer
  • Save a document or file on a flashdrive
  • Email a document or file using a computer that is connected to the Internet
  • Ask a librarian for help

Why is Research Necessary?
Conducting research is necessary because it helps you learn more about a topic or subject and develop your thinking about that topic.
Information Literacy is a skill that every student should have. It means you know how to think and apply information in an intelligent way. It may be difficult, but it can help you be a better learner!

Selecting a Topic

Research is an investigation of a topic or field of study. 
Research usually happens like this:

  1. You pick a general topic
  2. You get some general information on that topic
  3. You start thinking about what that topic means for you
  4. You pick a more specific aspect (or part) of that topic
  5. You find more specific information about an aspect of that topic
  6. You create your own thinking and ideas around that specific topic

Finding Information

Finding Information

  1. You ask questions to help you find even more specific information -- relating that information to your own thinking and ideas
  2. You find, analyze, and evaluate information resources from the library
  3. You think even more about your specific topic and what you are learning about it
  4. You organize the information you have found in the information resources

Using Information

Using Information

  1. You evaluate the quality of the information you've found
  2. You create something new from what you’ve learned
  3. You use the information to make a conclusion about your topic
  4. You present your research in a report


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Research Center Desk
Visit our "Make an Appointment" page to schedule a research consultation with a reference librarian.

You can also get in touch with the Research Center Desk during our operating hours at (303) 871-2905.

Additional Resources

The Research Center can help you with your research paper and projects.  The librarians can help you refine your topic, create a bibliography, find resources, find articles, and more.  

The Writing Center can help you integrate your research into your essay. To make an appointment:

Call 303.871.7456 or

1) Go to the writing center website
2) Select the red "Make an Appointment" option from the menu on the right side of the page. 
3) Select:

  • "Register for an account" if it's your first visit, or
  • "LOG IN" if you've made an appointment before.