Research is all about problem solving and increasing your knowledge. You have an idea and then you develop a research question and thesis. Before you write your paper, you conduct your research, gathering all the information you need. This is where this guide will help.
This guide is designed to get you started on your research, keep you going in the middle, and to wrap it up effectively at the end.
To pick a topic, you need to explore. Let's discover what information is out there.
How do you explore a topic? Find some overview or background information on your topic. Read to get the 'big picture'. Encyclopedias (both online and in print) are excellent sources for this. Some encyclopedias are broad and general and some are very specific. A librarian is happy to help you find the right ones. You can also search the library catalog for books, and conduct some database searches for articles.
When you have some ideas, think about this:
Good news - you have found a topic!! Now you need to learn more about your topic.
When you want to find background information on your topic the best sources are encyclopedias and books.
You probably know college-level work is not based on Wikipedia research, right? Ok. You got that. But you don't have to throw out the whole Wikipedia concept. Here's how you can use Wikipedia in college:
Useful guide for evaluating published sources of information.
Columbia College, Columbia University in the City of New York, 208 Hamilton Hall, 1130 Amsterdam Ave, NY, NY 10027
It's important to evaluate your sources, especially websites. What should you look for?
Evaluating Web Pages:
Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask
UC Berkeley - Teaching Library Internet Workshops
Very comprehensive guide to evaluating websites.
Source: University of California at Berkeley
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