Research, it must be understood, is a process. Depending on the goal of the researcher, it can take many forms. For example, a general search for a few broad articles to understand an area of study looks very different from the type of in-depth search required to start a research project or dissertation. Here's a very loose guide to the process:
- Start with dictionaries, handbooks, and encyclopedias to help understand and define your topic.
- Review articles, useful to understand what's currently being done in the field of your topic. Articles generally provide excellent bibliographies.
- In-depth searching of databases will update and fill in the complete picture.
- Take advantage of citation links, which indicate which papers have cited your key articles as well as the papers that it cited.