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WAMS Research Guide: Creating a Research Plan

Tutorials and links to help you navigate the research process successfully.

Useful Resources

Research Plan Documents

The Research Process

The Research Process is often thought of as a series of interconnected activities or steps beginning with identifying an information need all the way through finding information to satisfy your need and then applying that information to solve a problem, answer a question or create new ideas to share with others.

At a high level you can think of the research process as:



Developing Qs,  Finding a focus 


Searching, Accessing, Gathering


Evaluating, Note-taking, Thinking         


Synthesizing, Integrating, Drafting/Writing/Designing, Revising 


*from The Research Virtuoso by the Toronto Public Library, 2006.


Research Models

There are many different research models available. The one we use is called the BIG 6 Research Model. BIG 6 views the research process as divided into 6 STEPS, each step building from the previous one.  

However, the research process is not always linear, meaning it does not alway go in a straight line from STEP 1 to STEP 6.  Often, you have to go back to the steps involved in LOCATING and PROCESSING information several times to find the best sources of information for your research before moving forward in the research process.


The Research Plan

Developing a Research Plan is an important initial step in your research process.  A Research Plan keeps you focused, and with a well thought out plan, you can make your research process go more smoothly and effectively.  The time you take to plan your research steps and activities will save you many hours of research time.  IT'S WORTH THE EFFORT!


Activities to Include in Your Research Plan

1. Make sure you understand the Research Process

2. Make a schedule based on your research assignment - this keeps you focused and making progress!

3. Pre-search to choose and learn about your topic and develop a focus

4. Time for good note-taking tools and skills - Plagiarism happens when you don't have time to take good notes!

5. Time to write down citation information for your sources!

6. Time to go back to find better sources of information if needed - don't settle for information that isn't helpful


The Research Process and the BIG6 Model