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One Book One College 2020-2021: Start Your Research

Understanding Your Assignment

Before you begin your research, review your assignment. 

 Ask Yourself:

  • How many sources do you need?
  • What types of sources you need?
    • Books, articles, or websites?
    • Do they need to be scholarly journal articles? 
  • What citation style are you required to use?
    • Keep track of your sources

Developing a Research Topic video

Milwaukee Area Technical College Libraries. "Developing a Research Topic." YouTube. YouTube, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

The Research Process

opposing viewpoints screencap

1. Develop your Research Topic

  • Discuss your Research Topic with your Instructor to get ideas.
  • Use Opposing Viewpoints to browse topics and get ideas.

Example research question and keywords

2. Select Keywords from your Research Topic

  • Use Keywords for searching for Books/eBooks and the Article Databases.
  • Think of other words that could describe your topic

example EBSCO search

3. Search the Library's Resources

Search for Books & eBooks: 

  • Books & eBooks provide background research.
  • Background research gives you an overview and helps you to understand the main topic points.
  • Keep track of your sources and citations as you find them.

Search the Databases to find Articles: 

  • Add Keywords to focus your search so that your topic is not too broad or too narrow.
  • Getting too many results? Try narrowing your search by publication date range, so you get the most current results.
  • Keep track of your sources and citations as you find them.

refine results example

4. Evaluate your sources

  • Ask yourself, do the sources fit and support your Research Topic?
  • Are they scholarly or popular sources that fit the assignment requirements?

citation example

5. Create your Works Cited or Reference page

  • A Works Cited or Reference page list your sources and citations.
  • It shows where you got the information to support your Research Topic and gives credit to that person or organization.
  • It also shows that you did not plagiarize or copy someone else's work.

Library Terms

Abstract: a short summary of an article in an academic journal, usually appearing at the beginning of the article.

Catalog: an online listing of all the materials a library owns with a detailed description of each item and information on where they are located.

Citation: basic information about a specific source; a citation for a book includes author, title, publisher, place of publication and year of publication.

Database: a collection of organized information; Academic Search Complete is an example of an electronic database.

Journal: a publication that contains scholarly articles written by professors, researchers, or experts in a specific area; also called scholarly journals, academic journals and peer reviewed journals.

Periodical: a publication that appears on a continual and predictable schedule; examples include newspapers, magazines and journals.

Reference books: books such as encyclopedias, dictionaries and handbooks; these books provide key sources of information.

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