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POS 2112 (Ramsier): Getting Started with Research

This guide is designed to help students with library research as they complete assignments in POS 2112 with Professor Ramsier at the Poinciana Campus.

Research Process

Start your research by collecting background information. During this stage you will:

From your preliminary research, identify a relevant election issue. (Example: Florida and disenfranchisement of felons)

Turn this topic into a question. (Example: What actions have been taken to address the disenfranchisement of felons in Florida?)

The purpose of your research will be to find answers to this question.

To answer this question, you may need to answer several more specific questions. Use your assignment sheet for guidance. For example:

  • What do statistics show about how the issue has impacted the state?
  • What specific events show how the issue has impacted the state?
  • What legislative actions has the state taken to address this issue?
  • What executive actions has the state taken to address this issue?
  • What judicial actions have addressed this issue in the state?
  • Which interest groups are addressing this issue in the state? What actions are they taking?

With your research questions in mind, identify the sources of information you will need. Consider:

  • Best sources for statistics?
  • Best sources for current events?
  • Best sources for information on legislative, executive and judicial actions?
  • Best sources for information on interest groups?


  • What search tools will you need to access these sources? Google? Library databases? Library catalog?

This is where your librarian can help you! See the boxes below for suggestions.

Take notes on the information you have found. Evaluate your information:

  • Are your sources credible?
    • Don't forget you cannot use blogs, questionable websites or Wikipedia.
  • Are a variety of viewpoints represented? If no, what biases exist?
  • Have you answered all of your questions? If no, what do you still need to know?

If the answer to any of these is no, seek additional sources! If yes to all, you are ready to begin writing.


If you've done a thorough job, you will have a variety of credible sources that help answer your question(s) about the topic. Review your notes:

  • What are the main ideas?
  • Which sources support each main idea?
  • Write an APA citation for each of these sources.

Your library or the Plaza can help you with APA Citations. See the library's APA Citation Guides.

Poinciana Campus Librarian

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Karene Best
Poinciana Campus Library - Room 331B
The Valencia College libraries do not welcome solicitation of resources to be added to our LibGuides. This includes but is not limited to vendors, search engine optimizers, placement of ads, products, or any other requests. Our LibGuides are carefully curated resources developed in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to support specific assignments, courses, events, and other related purposes at Valencia College. The Valencia libraries reserve the right to ignore LibGuide resource solicitations, and/or block persistent requests from groups or individuals to add or promote links in our LibGuides.