Know Your Sources!
When doing research you will come across a lot of information from different types of sources. How do you decide which source to use? From tweets to newspaper articles, this tool provides a brief description of each and breaks down 6 factors of what to consider when selecting a source.
Where Do I Start?
At the beginning, research can seem daunting. Research is a process. Any process takes time and effort. Save yourself some time by preparing yourself going into it.
Build a Research Strategy
Start by asking, "What do I already know about this topic?" What do you want to know? Do you need to build background information, or have you already done that?
Turn your topic into a question. Statements, like assumptions, close off your search possibilities; questions open them, and lead to more questions, which leads to better search results.
Brainstorm what disciplines might yield more information on this topic. Does this topic have a historical angle? A sociological one? Has it been explored in literature? What kinds of scholars might have written about it?
Compile a list of searchable terms. Look at your basic search terms and come up with synonyms, like-terms, and alternate phrases to broaden your search.
Search widely. Use a number of different tools: databases, the library catalog, and Google Scholar are just a few. Look at different formats: books, journal articles, encyclopedias, newspapers... Don't give up if your first search goes bust!
Use search facets to narrow your results. Does a certain author write on this topic? Were people writing more often about this topic during a certain date range? Is there a subject term that would makre your search more specific?
Be flexible. If you're still not finding anything on your topic, you may need a new one. If your favorite database or search engine isn't coming up with anything, try a different tool. Be resourceful.
Try A Variety Of Sources
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How To Use This Guide
Use the tabs at the top of the guide to navigate through the various research areas you will explore while working on your projects. Depending on your topic, different resources may be more valuable than others, so be sure to take a look at all the research options we have available. And remember that librarians are always standing by if you are in need of help!