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ENGL 102 - Davenport - Basics of Library Research: Start Here

How to Use this Guide

The tabs above reflect a progression of stages of research.  Those stages are also briefly outlined below. You can adapt this process to complete a paper, an assignment, or to find information about any subject.  Click on the tabs to get started.  Specific resources are suggested in the tabs as well.


Stages of Research:

Define the Task/Identify Options:

  1. Choose a Topic

  2. Develop a Research Question

  3. Consider the types of sources you need
     
  4. Brainstorm search terms. 

    Hint:
    Book Catalog Searches: Use broad ideas and terms for books such as "global warming" or "climate change" then look for chapters or articles on your more specific topic.


    Periodical Article Database Searches:  Use more specific ideas and terms for periodical articles such as "pack ice" or "polar ice cap".  Articles have a narrower scope than books so you can use narrower or more specific search terms.


    Get Ready for Searching.  One topic may be expressed in many different ways so it's good to think about possible search terms before you start.


Select Sources/Find the Information:

Use the appropriate resource as indicated below:

  1. Google for free websites - Quick, but not always reliable.  Anyone can put this "stuff' up there!

  2. Librarian evaluated websites - Recommended free web resources.

  3. Library subscription reference sources - Locate background information and sometimes in-depth reviews of topics.
    These sources contain information that is often more reliable that "Googled" information because these sources go through a formal editing and review process by experts.

  4. Library book catalog - Locate books

  5. Library subscription article database - Locate journal, magazine, and newspaper articles.
    You can find scholarly and peer-reviewed articles in library subscription databases.

 

Evaluate/Analyze the Information:

When you use credible sources, your arguments can be more persuasive.  Anyone can put something on the web.  Know who is behind the information.  Check the "about" or "about us" links.

 

Cite/Present the Information:

Use the assigned citation style (APA, CSE, or MLA) so that information about your sources are properly listed.