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UB Athletics Toolkit: How to Do Your Research

This guide is for UB Athletics Tutors and Students
Last Updated: Jun 20, 2024 9:28 PM

The Research Process

Research is a messy process and can be tricky. It all begins with picking a research topic you can work with. After that, you should go step by step to find the proper information to complete your project. See the steps below for resources depending on where you are in the research process.

Step One: Choosing a Topic and Getting Background Information

Choosing a topic to research can be difficult. We suggest the following:

  1. Look at your assignment. Do you have the option to create you rown research topic, or were you assigned one?
  2. If you can pick your own, focus on one that you have interest in. If you're interested in the topic, you will be more invested in your research and are less likely to feel bored by it.
  3. Start small and do some basic background research about your topic in Google or Wikipedia.
  4. You can also explore some databases from the UB Libraries:
    • Opposing Viewpoints - This is a complete one-stop source for information about social issues and hot button topics.
    • Gale Virtual Reference Library (Gale eBooks) - These are similar to encyclopedias. They are free to use and are considered scholarly sources.

Please reference the video below for more information.

Thanks to McMaster University

Step Two: Making a Good Research Question

good research question should explore the relationship between three or four different aspects components. 

If your research topic is "sleep," you must narrow your search further because the topic is too broad. Consider adding different pieces based on the information you found in your background research. An example of a good research question within the topic of sleep would be:

"How does sleep effect the GPA of college students"

Notice there are two other components here beyond just sleep. Try doing a brainstorm to see how you wish to further investigate your main topic and then come up with two or three possible questions to work with.

Step Three: Finding the Right Keywords

The next step is finding the right keywords within your research question to search with. The example in Step Two was:

"How does sleep effect the GPA of college students"

Break down the question into the main, workable components. Here, your keywords would be:


GPA (Grade Point Average)

Collge Students

Note: effect is not a keyword - words that are comparable are not included (ex. effect, impact, affect, relationship, etc.)

Please reference the video below for more information.

Thanks to McMaster University

Step Four: Search for Information in the UB Libraries

The next step is to combine your keywords in a library search. 

Since we know what our example keywords are, use the word AND in between each keyword and search in the UB Libraries Everything search. If you have a keyword with two or more words, put quotation marks around it to search it as a phrase.

sleep AND GPA AND "college students"

You can also use synonyms for each word to expand your search, but it may not be necessary if you're finding what you want already. You would do this by putting the word OR between the synonyms.

sleep OR Rest AND GPA OR "grade point average" AND "college students" OR "university students"

Please reference the video below for more information.

Step Five: Using the Right UB Library Databases

The last step is to find high level information, such as scholarly articles, within the UB Library databases. Figure out what discipline or subject area your research question pertains to.

The example research question above is investigating sleep AND GPA AND "college students."

It would make sense to start looking for sources within a database about Education. You can find these within the UB Libraries Subject Guides.

Please reference the video below for more information.