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The Research Process: Step By Step

The following guide can help you navigate the research process using resources at the FIU Libraries


Trying to access articles & do research from off campus?

You have the same access to our online resources while off campus, as you do while on campus!

For many of the research resources offered by the Libraries, access is restricted to currently registered students, faculty, and staff.  When trying to connect to these services from off campus, you will be required to login through the "off-campus access" portal.  Start by entering either your FIU email username + password OR your library account number + your birth month and day.  

If you are on campus, typically no additional login is required. 

repeat the process & expand your search

Databases are your primary search tool for finding articles on a topic.

To choose an appropriate database, ask yourself which disciplines are relevant to your topic. A paper about global warming, for example, may be relevant to a number of disciplines including environmental science, political science, and business. Once you decide which discipline(s) to focus on, select databases by subject from our A-Z  List.

To find recommended databases to use as starting points by popular disciplines, visit the Research: Start page and select the appropriate subject/discipline on the list on the left.

Use the tools built-in to the databases and other resources to help guide you, such as subject headings, tags, related searches, etc.

  • Continue to search and narrow down your topic to make it more manageable and specific
  • Try not to enter a long string of words or complete phrases in a single search box, some databases won't give you successful search results, try instead to break up you search into a few key words and terms
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat; you may need to repeat the process more than once in order to get to the exact type of results you are looking for
  • Try to use multiple databases, don't be satisfied with the results from just one database
  • Ask for help!  Consult with the librarians.  They can recommend other resources and help you fine-tune your search for information.


You may find that you need to move beyond the interdisciplinary resources and into a more targeted search. 
Use the "Research Tools" tab on the library's homepage to access the listing of databases/resources by subject and discipline for a more guided search.  Browse subject listings on the A-Z List.

Some of our most popular subject areas are listed below...