Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Your safety is our priority. COVID-19 Information | CARES Act Information

ENG-005: Home

The Information Search Process (ISP) is a six step process to help you save time and keep you organized through all phases of any research assignment.

  • Step 1: Understand the Assignment
  • Step 2: Select a Topic
  • Step 3: Explore Your Topic
  • Step 4: Develop a Thesis Statement
  • Step 5: Research the Topic/Track Your Citations
  • Step 6: Write Your Paper

Information on the Carol Kuhlthau's ISP.


Understand the Assignment

  • Review and understand the professor's assignment BEFORE starting any other step
  • Pay specific attention to the time constraints, size and scope of the assignment
  • Know what the topic restrictions are as well as the required citation style
  • Understand what type of resources are required as well as resource restrictions
  • Establish an approach - what is the best way for YOU to work

Select a Topic

  • What are the assignment requirements regarding my topic?
  • What are some areas of interest to me, my family or my friends?

You want to decide your broad topic - the big category or subject area - sometimes this will be assigned.

Where to find topic ideas?

TedTalks Topics CQ Researcher Points of View

You will need an active CCC library card to access these databases from off-campus.

Click here to apply for or renew your library card.

Explore Your Topic

The purpose of this step is to take your broad topic and narrow it down to what you are specifically looking for so you can write your thesis/specific purpose statement. You want to look for subtopics or additional search terms in this step.

You can try searching the internet, using the Content Box in Wikipedia or search other encyclopedias to help narrow down your topic. You can not normally cite these sources for academic research (check with your professor), however they are great resources for narrowing down your topic.

Where to explore my topic?

Thesis Statement

  • tells the reader the subject matter of the paper
  • informs the reader what to expect from the paper
  • interprets a question or subject but not subject itself
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper

Check out the following helpful links.

Research Your Topic/Track Your Citations

When gathering information for your assignment, you need to keep track of the information you find as well as the sources/citations as you go.

Where can I find the best information in the least amount of time?

  • Using the library materials is the best and quickest way to gather information for your assignment
  • Use CamCat, the Library Catalog to find thousands of books and eBooks
  • Find journal articles and additional eBooks in the library databases

You will need an active CCC library card to access the databases and other library materials from off-campus.

Click here to apply for or renew your library card.

Research Assistance Citation Help NoodleTools
Excelsior Online Writing Lab MLA Style Excelsior Online Writing Lab APA Style Why can't I use the web, Google or Wikpedia?

Write Your Paper

If you need writing assistance, please contact the Tutoring Center.

Or take a look at these helpful links...

  EasySearch Database Search
Limit Your Results

Subject Specific Library Resources