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PHL-232: 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

Useful Websites & Blogs

University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics - A leader in bioethics research and its deployment in the ethical, efficient, and compassionate practice of the life sciences and medicine. blog - collects news and analysis from among hundreds of sources, linking you to news and commentary you might have missed in the day's papers and magazines.
National Catholic Bioethics Center - The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) was established in 1972 to reflect on these developments and to promote and safeguard the dignity of the human person in health care and the life sciences.
sciencebase: sci-tech news & views - Science Blog from science writer David Bradley
The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities - An educational organization whose purpose is to promote the exchange of ideas and foster multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and inter-professional scholarship, research, teaching, policy development, professional development, and collegiality among people engaged in all of the endeavors related to clinical and academic bioethics.
National Institute of Health - Bioethics - This is the National Institute of Health's National Library of Medicine, specifically the Bioethics Information Resources.
Center for Disease Control & Prevention - This is the CDC's Office of the Associate Director for Science, specifically dealing with Public Health Ethics.