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About the Research Process

About This Guide

This guide will introduce you to conducting basic literature reviews in today’s academic library environment. From choosing a topic to citing your sources, this guides lays out some best practices for examining topics in a scholarly fashion.

Choosing a Topic and Getting Organized

What are you interested in studying? Consider the scope of your topic. Some topics may be too broad for short research papers, while others may be too narrow. Once you’ve decided on a manageable topic, try to come up with key concepts. For example, if you’re interested in the impact of alcoholism on families, your key concepts will be alcohol, family, or related terms such as substance abuse or codependency. Write them down; these concepts will assist you when you go to the BU Libraries Search or other databases to gather more information.

As you find literature, try using RefWorks to organize and track citations. RefWorks allows you to add citations from any source, save full text attachments, and automatically create a bibliography for your paper in various citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).


Find Your Librarian

We have a number of subject librarians who can assist you with your research. 

You can browse our list of librarians and their subject areas here
Still unsure? Contact us at