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Research with Library Resources (ENG 1B- Spears)

How do I start?

poe the panther librarian profile picNow that you've completed Steps 2, 3, 4 and 5, you're ready to start researching!

But how should you actually start?

First, get a good background. Find out what your topic is about and get some overview information. Wikipedia may be a good option for that.

Wait, did I just say Wikipedia??!? Yes, I did! Wikipedia is a great place to get a general understanding of a topic. While it may not always be reliable since anyone can edit it, it generally provides good overviews. However, you shouldn't believe anything you read there without verifying it from a more credible source (more on credible sources in the Step 3 "Finding and Evaluating Scholarly Sources" step). Wikipedia often has a list of references at the bottom of its articles- this can be a good source of credible information. And you should never cite Wikipedia as a source for a paper unless your professor explicitly says you should.

You can also get background information from the library database Opposing Viewpoints. This database is covered breifly in Step 2, and you can also find a video on how to use Opposing Viewpoints here: https://youtu.be/QW6aRmDWsYo

Continue your research

research cycle iconAs you continue finding information, keep in mind that research is a cycle- first you SEARCH, then you READ, then you search again... RESEARCH!

As you use the library databases, you'll find that some keywords work better than others. Be sure to keep an eye out for additional keywords that you may not have originally thought of. For example, you might start by searching in the databases with the word "education", but maybe a better keyword would be "school work" or "college", depending on your topic. Be flexible and use lots of different words!

Also try searching in multiple databases. After searching Academic Search Complete, try another database- it will give you different articles and different perspectives. JSTOR is great for history, art, or literature; Communication and Mass Media Complete is great for communications or research on various kinds of media;  ERIC is recommended for articles on education and students; and PsycArticles is a great database with articles on psychology and human behavior. We have many more databases on other subjects as well- check out our full list of databases.

What about books?

book iconBooks are a great resource for your assignments and research! Why?

  • Books contain a lot of information. They provide overviews, background information, and also detailed information on specific issues in that subject.
  • Books are often well-edited and more credible than websites and newspaper/magazine articles.

But they're so... LONG! No one has time to read a whole book for just one source in a paper!

Don't worry, you don't have to read the entire book in order to cite it in your paper! Skim the book's contents for information relevant to your research by looking at the table of contents or chapter titles. If you are using the library's eBooks, you can also search within the book to find where your keywords appear in the text to find the most relevant sections.

Topic Guides

Topic guides focus on a specific topic or subject and provide helpful books, articles, databases, and websites on that topic. Here are some topic guides that may be useful for your assignment:

Librarians to the rescue!

librariansThere's a team of research experts who are eager to help you find the sources you need- your Chaffey Librarians! Whether you're trying to figure out how to use the databases, how to figure out if a website is credible, or how to pick a good topic, we are here to help you at all points of your journey! You can find a librarian on Cranium Cafe or you can email us at library@chaffey.edu. You can also make an appointment to talk with a librarian on Zoom by emailing us as well.

Chaffey College • 5885 Haven Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737 - 3002 • 909/652-6000
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