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How to Write a Research Paper

A step-by-step guide to writing a research paper.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides you with scholarly journal articles.


Google Scholar (accessed via the library's database list OR searched on campus) also connects you to LVC's  full-text resources.

While it's not the best place to be searching (library subject databases will provide you with more information and offer more powerful search features), it is a place to check.

Google Citation Search

Google Scholar can also be used to citation search. If you find the perfect article, copy and paste the article title into Google Scholar.

Usually, Google Scholar will find this article. Under the article citation, you'll notice a link called Cited by.  Click on the Cited by link.  This will connect you to a list of articles published in the future--in the example below, 157 articles published after 2009--that have cited your perfect article.


When researching at the college level, Google should not be your only source of information.  It's a great starting place, but...

Did you know that only 4% of the information online can be accessed by Google?  4%.  

96% of information on the web cannot be reached by Google.  This information that cannot be accessed by Google is called the deep web.   

ALL of the library's databases fall within the category of deep web information; inaccessible by Google.  

Search the 96%--use library databases.

Google Search Tips

Search Description
   "cost benefit analysis"

Exact phrase search 

  • Glues words together.
  • Searches words exactly as they appear within " ".

"wind energy"

"solar power"


Include words

  • Type a plus sign before the word or phrase to include.
  • A space must be placed before the plus sign but not after it.
  • Use this operator to include stop words in the results.


    propofol +"cost analysis"

Exclude words

  • Type a minus sign before the word or phrase to exclude.
  • A space must be placed before the minus sign but not after it.


    "shale gas"  -marcellus

   "tar sands"  -venezuelan 


Restrict search to a domain or website


  • Search top level domains such as .edu, .org, .com, .gov, .net


Find  cost benefit information about Canadian tar sands:

"tar sands" and "cost  benefit" site:ca

Find government sites with cost benefit information about nuclear power:

"nuclear power" +"cost benefit"

Google Books

Use Google Books to search over 40 million books. 

Be aware that there will be different view options. 

If the book is out of copyright or the author/publisher has given permission, the full-text of the book will be provided. 

Limited view provides a limited number of pages for viewing. 

Snippet view provides a few sentences.  No view provides you with just  the citation information.  If you do find a book in Google Books with no view, you can Interlibrary Loan for it.