RESEARCH 101 This is a self-paced tutorial to provide you with the necessary skills to find and use information and to evaluate and use it wisely for writing research papers and essays.You will learn to answer this question:1. Where should I look for sources?
Choosing proper sources• Now that you have defined your topic, you are ready to start gathering information.• After completing this section you will be able to: • Identify types of information available • Understand how information is created • Determine which types of information could be useful for your assignment
Types of informationClick on a type to explore it’s characteristics, advantages and limitations• Encyclopedias• Books• Academic Journals• Magazines and Newspapers• Web Sites
EncyclopediasCharacteristics: - Provides context for a topic through introductory overviews - Information on concepts, people, places, events - General encyclopedias cover a broad range of areas - Subject encyclopedias provide introductory to in-depth information on a specific subjectAdvantages: - Helpful starting point for assignments - Generate ideas for assignments - Subject encyclopedias attempt to cover various ideas with a particular field - Contain useful bibliographies with additional resourcesLimitations: - Not as current as articles - Does not provide in-depth information and should not be used as the only source for an assignment
Example: Your topic is FeminismYou can start by looking in the Encyclopedia Britannicato get some broad ideas. Then for more in-depthinformation you can try a subject encyclopedia such as: Encyclopedia of Women and Gender Encyclopedia of Women’s History in America
BooksCharacteristics: - Usually provide overviews from general to specific - Incorporates an author’s or other’s theory of a topicAdvantages: - Authoritative and detailed source - Provides in-depth treatment of a subject - Table of contents and index can help focus research on a particular section - Bibliographies point to more sources of informationLimitations: - Content and information may not be as current as articles - May contain too much information to process for the assignment
Academic JournalsCharacteristics: - Purpose is to report on current research conducted by professional - In-depth articles cover specific issues or research questions - Language and content is geared toward other professionals - Uses tables and graphs to support information - Contain bibliographies for additional sources of information - Peer reviewed (articles submitted to publishers are reviewed by experts or peers that evaluate the work based on originality, quality, and currency)Advantages: - Information is more current than books or encyclopedias - Information is accurate and reliable - Bibliographies point to information used to support articleLimitations: - History of topic is usually not presented - Articles may cover only one aspect of your assignment topic
How do I know if its an academic journal?- Make sure the author’s name and credentials (degree, university) are clearly stated.- When using a database, look for a limit feature that lets you search for academic journals only.
We have paper copies of these journal available: Journal of AHIMA Journal of the American Medical Association Oriental Medicine Journal And many more titles available on databases: Journal of Business & Psychology Women in Business Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice And Hundreds More!
Magazines and NewspapersCharacteristics Purpose is to inform and entertain. The content and language is geared toward a general audience Articles are short, written by journalists (not experts) and use photographsAdvantages Good for generating ideas on issues and learning about current events Newspapers are good for tracking events as they happen Provide coverage for government and business newsLimitations Present a non-academic perspective Authors are not experts Usually do not include bibliographies
ExamplesMagazines: Time Newsweek National Geographic The Economist VogueNewspapers: Chicago Tribune Wall Street Journal New York Times
WebsitesCharacteristics Offer immediate access to current information “Publishers” are varied and can be anyone Information on wealth of topics Easy to access and use Powerful marketing toolAdvantages Good for certain types of information: news, government associations and documents, current events, quick facts, travel and maps, culture information business products, shopping, opinionsLimitations Not everything is on Google Information overload – too many websites to sift through to find information Authority, reliability, accuracy, currency all need to be evaluated Not everything is free Advertisements and website sponsors can lead to biased information
Tip: For some types of information the web is great.Organizations, Associations, and Publishers can be trustworthy places to find resources for your assignment. However – many websites are created by anonymous authors and can provide questionable or even wrong information.To make best use of the internet always evaluate the quality of what you find.
Selecting your sources• Understanding the types of sources can help determine which ones to use when looking for specific information. • If you want: • General Overview try a general or subject encyclopedia • Specific definition try a general or subject dictionary • Timeline of event try looking at newspapers or the internet • Results of opinion polls try searching magazines, newspapers, and the internet • Reliable data to strengthen an argument you present in a paper, the best resources are academic journals, books, and other detailed information
Example: Your research question is: Does education in prisonsplay a role in reducing recidivism? You have already read entries in encyclopedias andidentified books that relate to the topic using the library’sOASIS catalog.You now need more current research-focused information –you need academic articles.Did you know there is a Journal of Correctional Educationavailable via the EBSCO database with articles such as: “The Hope Bridge Program: Addressing RecidivismThrough Education and Employment.”
How is information created?• Knowing how information is created can help you know where to look. • Any event triggers an information cycle • Beginning with immediate coverage on television, the internet, and radio. • Newspapers and magazines provide coverage in the following days and weeks. • As time goes by, additional information appears in academic journals and books.
The events of September 11, 2001 provide a useful illustration of an informationcycle: Same Day Television, radio, internet reports of events as they happen Next Day Newspaper articles from around the world surface along with continued reports from television, radio and internet Weeks Later Weekly magazines provide more depth of coverage Months Later Academic articles focus on broader topics of terrorism and the impact of the events Years Later Academic articles are still being published in addition to books for general audiences providing information on the consequences of the events
Summary• For every assignment you will likely need a variety of sources: • Encyclopedias & Books – provide overviews of topics from general to specific • Magazines & Newspapers – geared toward general public and provide information on business and government topics • Academic Journals – provide current research written by experts in their field • Websites – provide an unending stream of information, but you have to evaluate all that you find. Next: Using search tools to locate your resources!
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