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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

See course materials from your professor for the assignment requirements.

Some Assignment Guides are listed below.

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

Useful Resources for Elia Kazan Assignment

Useful Resources for Photojournalism Assignment

Importance of Images

"I want to put a human face on situations that would otherwise remain abstract." James Nachtwey and the importance of images





Adam Ferguson, Afghanistan, 2009

"As a photographer, you feel helpless. Around you are medics, security personnel, people doing good work. It can be agonizingly painful to think that all you're doing is taking pictures." Photograph: Adam Ferguson/VII Network


Aperture Magazine: Dedicated to Promoting Photography

The Aperture Foundation is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to promoting photography. The foundation publishes Aperture, a journal that is published four times a year.

Use the links below to find issues of Aperture in print and online. 



Useful Website

Photojournalism Ethics

  • Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography
    • The National Press Photographers Association (NPAA), a professional society that promotes the highest standards in visual journalism, acknowledges concern for every person's need both to be fully informed about public events and to be recognized as part of the world in which we live.
  • National Press Photographers Association/ (Code of Ehtics)
    • Visual journalists and those who manage visual news productions are accountable for upholding the following standards in their daily work:

      • Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
      • Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
      • Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one's own biases in the work.
      • Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
      • While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
      • Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images' content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
      • Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
      • Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
      • Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.
    • Ideally, visual journalists should:

      • Strive to ensure that the public's business is conducted in public. Defend the rights of access for all journalists.
      • Think proactively, as a student of psychology, sociology, politics and art to develop a unique vision and presentation. Work with a voracious appetite for current events and contemporary visual media.
      • Strive for total and unrestricted access to subjects, recommend alternatives to shallow or rushed opportunities, seek a diversity of viewpoints, and work to show unpopular or unnoticed points of view.
      • Avoid political, civic and business involvements or other employment that compromise or give the appearance of compromising one's own journalistic independence.
      • Strive to be unobtrusive and humble in dealing with subjects.
      • Respect the integrity of the photographic moment.
      • Strive by example and influence to maintain the spirit and high standards expressed in this code. When confronted with situations in which the proper action is not clear, seek the counsel of those who exhibit the highest standards of the profession. Visual journalists should continuously study their craft and the ethics that guide it.
  • Societies of Professional Journalists
    • Seek Truth and Report It - Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information
    • Minimize Harm - Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.
    • Act Independently - Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.
    • Be Accountable - Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Books and eBooks available from the Camden County College Library