There is a distinct flow to the process of research: Searching, Evaluating, and Citing.
By following this pattern you will be able to achieve the best results in your work!
Do not underestimate the power of books! The library offers thousands of books for you to check out. Plus we have access to millions more through interlibrary loan through other universities and the public library!
Books offer great information that can provide background knowledge and specific aspects to your research. Generally, it is easy to discover who wrote the book and when it was written for context clues on the information it contains. It is always a good idea to include books in your research.
Consider databases a place to go for sources instead of a source themselves. Within a database you can find: academic journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, ebooks, and images.
There are two main types of databases: general and subject. General databases cover all topics, while subject databases specialize in just one. Start with a general database to find a good cross-section of information on your topic, then move on to a subject database to dive deep into specific angles of your topic.
The internet is a great place to find current information. Knowledge is being shared at a rapid rate on the internet so understanding what you are reading/viewing is key. Making sure you understand who created the information, when it was created, and why it was created will give you a better understand and how to use what you have just found.
Never take any information for granted, but especially on the internet because the origin and purpose of it can be unclear.
The CRAAP Test
The CRAAP Test is an easy way to remember the key essentials to evaluating information. Each word stands for an important aspect to consider when researching.
Its simplest definition is: “a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned...
When you read through a source, ask yourself a few questions and think about the motives behind the source:
Authors often have their own agendas, for example to sell products, influence legislation or capture converts. When using any information resource, you must decide whether the information is sufficiently objective for your purpose or whether it is biased.
A highly biased presentation can be included in scholarly research as long as that bias is described and weighed against alternative views or interpretations.
We use citations to make sure we give credit for the information we used to create the ideas we present in our work. Without it, you can be accused of plagiarism aka stealing. Citations also allow those who read out work to find more information on the topics presented.
To create citations we use both style guides and citations tools. While it is tempting to use a citation tool and call it a day, many times they can get citations wrong. It is always a good idea to double check citations created with citation tools with style guides to make sure they are correct.
This is a great place to start for all citation and style guide needs. It comes from a trusted source, Purdue University and is updated regularly.
The citation style generally used for the sciences.
The citation style generally used for the humanities and arts.
The citation style generally used for history.
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