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The 411 on Research Papers

❶While taking notes, also be sure to write down the page number of the information. Try key phrases such as "women and Civil War" or "girls and Civil War.

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The Research Assignment
Periodical Databases

Many libraries have set their computers on a particular search engine, or a service that will conduct the research for you. Internet research can be time consuming. You will need to search much the way you would on the library database computers--simply type in key words or authors or titles, and see what the computer comes up with.

Then you will have to read through the list of choices that you are given and see if any of them match what you think you are looking for. There are a lot of resources on the internet that are not going to be valuable to you. Part of your internet research will include evaluating the resources that you find.

Personal web pages are NOT a good source to go by--they often have incorrect information on them and can be very misleading. Be sure that your internet information is from a recognized source such as the government, an agency that you are sure is a credible source the Greenpeace web page, for example, or the web page for the National Institute of Health , or a credible news source CBS, NBC, and ABC all have web pages.

A rule of thumb when doing internet research: One good source to help you determine the credibility of online information is available from UCLA: Check out the Content and Evaluation and Sources and Data sections.

Taking notes is an important part of doing research. Be sure when you take notes that you write down the source that they are from! One way of keeping track is to make yourself a "master list"--a number list of all of the sources that you have. Then, as you are writing down notes, you can just write down the number of that source.

A good place to write notes down is on note cards. This way you can take the note cards and organize them later according to the way you want to organize your paper. While taking notes, also be sure to write down the page number of the information. You will need this later on when you are writing your paper. Any time that you use information that is not what is considered "common knowledge," you must acknowledge your source. For example, when you paraphrase or quote, you need to indicate to your reader that you got the information from somewhere else.

This scholarly practice allows your reader to follow up that source to get more information. You should look at your course guide carefully to determine which format you should be using. Check out more specific information on how to document sources. Using sources to support your ideas is one characteristic of the research paper that sets it apart from personal and creative writing. Sources come in many forms, such as magazine and journal articles, books, newspapers, videos, films, computer discussion groups, surveys, or interviews.

The trick is to find and then match appropriate, valid sources to your own ideas. But where do you go to obtain these sources? For college research papers, you will need to use sources available in academic libraries college or university libraries as opposed to public libraries.

Here you will find journals and other texts that go into more depth in a discipline and are therefore more appropriate for college research than those sources written for the general public. Some, though not all, of these sources are now in electronic format, and may be accessible outside of the library using a computer. Primary sources are original, first-hand documents such as creative works, research studies, diaries and letters, or interviews you conduct.

Secondary sources are comments about primary sources such as analyses of creative work or original research, or historical interpretations of diaries and letters.

You can use a combination of primary and secondary sources to answer your research question, depending on the question and the type of sources it requires. The textbook is a secondary source, one step removed from the original experience or observation. An on-line catalog has replaced card catalogs in many libraries as a means of listing and indexing what is in the library. You use an on-line catalog the same way you use a card catalog: Most of the searches that you do for a research paper will be subject searches, unless you already know enough about the field to know some standard sources by author or title.

Also remember to record the call number, which is the number you use to find the item in the library. Magazines are written for the general public, so they contain articles that do not present a subject in depth. Journals are written by and for professionals in various fields and will provide you with in-depth, specific information.

Your professors will expect you to use some journals; in fact, the more advanced your courses are, the more you should be using journal articles in your research as opposed to magazine articles.

How do you find articles to answer your research question? Most magazine and journal articles are referenced in either an index or an abstract. An index lists magazine or journal articles by subject. Find the correct subject heading or keyword to search for articles.

Write down all the information for each article. If not, you can use the information to request the article through interlibrary loan. Many libraries have many of these indices on their on-line systems; check with the reference librarian if you have a question about indices available on-line. A bound, printed abstract takes two steps to use. The first step is the same--find the appropriate subject heading in the index portion and write down all of the information in the entry.

Note that the entry will also include a number or some kind of an identifying code. The most commonly used index to newspaper articles is the New York Times Index, organized alphabetically by subject. Your local newspaper also may publish an index, which may be useful if you are researching local history or politics. Encyclopedias provide background information about a subject. Note that you should confine your use of encyclopedias to background information only, since their information is too general to function as an appropriate source for a college paper.

Specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries provide background in specific fields e. Facts on File and Statistical Abstracts provide brief bits of statistical information that can aid your research.

Other reference books abound e. It will be time well spent. The Library of Congress provides an indexing system; most academic libraries index their books using Library of Congress subject headings. The Library of Congress publishes a Subject Heading Index listing all of the subject headings that they use.

Why bother knowing this information? The Subject Heading Index is a good tool for you as a researcher. If you are finding too much information, check this index to see at a glance all of the various headings and sub-headings for the subject. You can get an idea of how to narrow down and focus your subject simply by scanning these various headings and sub-headings.

Just note that these subject headings relate to books only. Magazine and journal indexes and abstracts will use their own subject headings but the Library of Congress headings can at least give you an idea of the types of headings to use.

The important thing to remember here is that, by the time a book is printed, the information is at least a couple of years old. That means that you should get yourself into the library. The Internet provides access to a lot of information. The ESC Library provides access to a number of useful databases on a wide variety of topics. The Internet provides access to many on-line catalogs so you can review the types of books available in the field and carried by that particular library.

The Internet also provides access to a few full-text electronic journals which means that you can read and print the article right from the screen. The Internet can link you up with individuals who might have expertise on the topic you are researching. You can find these people by joining electronic discussion groups newsgroups or maillists.

These forums are usually categorized by topic e. By posting a question to the group or maillist, you can obtain useful information from knowledgeable people willing to share their expertise. The one big problem with the Internet is that you sometimes need to sift. But if you persevere, and even if you just play around with it, the Internet can offer some gems of information in a quick, easy way.

People who have "been there" and "done that" can add a real richness to your research. Who better than a former Olympic athlete to provide information about the emotional effects of athletic competition?

You can consult knowledgeable people in print as well. Starting your research early will assure that you have time to get the sources that you want to consult. One big tip for using interlibrary loan: So get in the habit of writing all of the information down as you compile your list of sources. For books, write down the author, title, publisher, place, and date of publication. For articles, write down the article title, journal title, author, volume, date, span of page numbers, and the name, year, and page number of the reference source in which you found the article listed.

The library needs this information to order your source. One big tip for working with a reference librarian: The librarian will immediately be able to suggest a number of places to look if you tell him that your research question is "Why is smoking being banned in public places? Background Gathering sources is much more complex than it used to be. Your primary places for locating sources will be: The library Other computer sources CDRoms, etc.

The library If you go to the library, you will find that the old card catalog, which only lists books, has been replaced by a computer in most libraries.

Other useful guides include:. What are they good for? These databases help you locate relevant articles in scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers. In many cases, the full text of the article is available right in the database.

Chances are good that we do. We subscribe to many databases or online indexes. Academic Search Elite indexes articles from a vast array of periodicals, including scholarly journals, popular magazines and newspapers. Many articles are available in full text; if not, be sure to check UILink. If you need just scholarly articles, there is an easy way to limit to those.

Access World News provides the full text of newspaper articles from the U. International newspaper articles may be in English or the local language. There is a geographic locator for searching by a U.

It contains encyclopedia-like articles on controversial issues of the day. An excellent place to start your research. LexisNexis Academic provides the full text of U. OpinionArchives provides the full text of opinion pieces and commentary from a dozen U. What is a bibliographic style? When professors assign a term paper, they usually expect you to provide a list of the sources you consulted in writing the paper.

They may also expect you to cite your sources at the point in your paper where you refer to them, either as a footnote or an in-text citation. They will expect you to provide a bibliography or works cited list at the end of the paper. Sometimes the professor will tell you which style to use.

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One must delineate between general reference for general knowledge and scholarly sources for in-depth knowledge and research. Facts from reputable encyclopedias or similar sources can be used to supplement a paper, but keep in mind that these sources won’t contain any juicy analysis or scholarly study.

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The experts at Elite Editing show you where to find credible sources for your research paper. Finding credible sources online explained.

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Finding Sources--explanation Using sources to support your ideas is one characteristic of the research paper that sets it apart from personal and creative writing. Sources come in many forms, such as magazine and journal articles, books, newspapers, videos, films, computer discussion groups, surveys, or interviews. It can be frustrating to conduct online research, because internet sources can be quite unreliable. If you find an online article that provides relevant information for your research topic, you should take care to investigate the source to make sure it is valid and reliable. This is an essential.

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Research Resources What Are Research Resources? Research resources are usually thought of as primary sources and secondary loqonujodohok.gqy sources can be firsthand accounts of actual events written by an eyewitness or original literary or artistic works. They may be letters, official records, interviews, survey results, or unanalyzed . How to Find Credible Sources Online. Online scholarly databases are a great place to start. Starting with a simple search of your topic is the best way to dip your toe in the water, get a sense of what’s out there, and gauge the breadth of academic research done on your topic at hand.