This Assignment Calculator breaks up your big research project into manageable chunks, with a suggested timeline and resources to help you at every stage of your research. The Start Date is the earliest day you plan to begin work on your project. The End Date is the date the assignment is due.

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Click here to print your schedule!

Description and Help* Due Date
1. Understand Your Assignment

This is an important first step that can save you a lot of heartache later! As soon as you receive your assignment, be sure to read through it carefully. Note any deadlines for submitting your topic, sources, outlines or early drafts. If you have any questions about the assignment, consult your instructor. Add important dates to your personal calendar. If your project involves creating multimedia, consider making an appointment at the Media Depot for a tour of available tools you can use.

2. Define Your Topic

A well-defined topic will be easier to research. Follow these tips to get started:

  • The first idea you come up with is likely too broad or too narrow to be a good research topic. Do a little background research on your idea to turn it into an appropriate research question. A collection of subject specific encyclopedias like the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is an excellent place to start.
  • Write down what you already know or don't know about the topic.
  • Using the information you wrote down, develop questions you'd like to answer when doing your research. Use probing questions such as why? how? what if? should? Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no.
Don't be afraid to consult with your instructor on the direction of your project. Minimally, send him/her an email and ask for feedback on your proposed topic. Now is also a great time to make an appointment with a librarian to provide guidance on locating information and resources to help you refine your topic.
3. Gather Resources (Library Research)

Plan your search strategy and identify primary resources, including library databases.

  • If you are new to library research, you might start with a general article database, such as Academic Search Complete.
  • If you think you need a more specific database, consult the Research Guide for your course subject area.
  • Use InfoKat Discovery to find books, journal titles, some articles, DVDs and more.
View Now If you see the View Now button as you search click on it to find out how to access full-text articles. Because you're planning ahead, you may even be able to use Interlibrary Loan to access items not owned by UK.
4. Read and Evaluate Information

Be sure to keep track of your sources and record the citation information as you go.

  • Library databases are not Google. Review these Search Strategies for tips about how to search successfully. If you need help, this is a great time to make an appointment with a librarian or contact us by email, chat, or phone.
  • Evaluate the gathered information for your research:
    • Have you found enough information on your topic?
    • Does the information support your thesis?
    • Have you answered the questions: What, Why, Where, When, How?
5. Write the First Draft

Start with an outline:

  • Organize your ideas.
  • Organize your notes.
  • Outline the format of your paper.
For the first draft, don't worry as much about writing style. Focus on trying to get your ideas down in a logical order. Look for any obvious holes in your argument.
6. Conduct Additional Research, if needed

Your thesis may have evolved as you have been doing your research. Maybe you found an interesting idea to explore, or a piece of information changed your point of view. This is to be expected! Now is a good time to review your assignment and the work you've done so far to see if you need to conduct a little more research.

  • Reread your assignment.
  • Keep looking for more resources that support your thesis or argument.
  • You may want to consult with your instructor if your thesis has changed significantly.
7. Revise and Rewrite (Second Draft)

At this stage, you may want help with your writing. Even if your final project is an oral presentation, you should prepare a written draft. Make an appointment with the Writing Center.

  • Complete bibliography.
  • Refer to the Style Guides and Manuals research guide for help. Make sure your citation format matches the requirements of the assignment.
Be sure to proofread. Look for spelling and grammatical errors. Does your paper fulfill the assignment requirements? You may want to have someone else read your paper, to look for typos you may not notice yourself.
8. Final Draft

Write the final draft of your paper. Again, you may want to contact the Writing Center for help. Submit your final paper on time!

* Ask Us for help at any point during this process!
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