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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 how to answer this question:1. Do I have enough good resources?
Working with your resultsNow that you know how to use the search tools, you should examine thequantity and quality of your results.• You may feel overwhelmed by the thousands of items, or frustrated by the lack of results. • Here you will learn how to: • Determine if you have enough information to complete your assignment • Review your research strategy to locate more or fewer items • Evaluate the quality of your results
Quantity I have too many results I have too few results• Try one of these strategies: • Try one of these strategies: • Add more search terms • Use truncation when searching • If searching for exact phrase use • Replace phrases with keywords quotation marks (“ “) • Avoid using non-specific words: • Specify time limits or a time period issues, effects, results, etc. • Limit keywords to title, subject or • Consider using a different database abstract when searching a database • Add synonyms using the Or • Consider using a different database connector • Check for spelling mistakes and typos • Reconsider or broaden your topic
QualityNo matter the item, it is important to critically evaluate the information youlocate• When evaluating quality you will want to look at these areas: • Currency • Authority • Purpose • Point of View
Currency• If you want either current or historical information, you will want to ask yourself: • What is the copyright date? • If the item is a website, has it been revised? • What is the timespan covered in the document?
Authority• Refers to the knowledge or experience of the author or producer of the document. When checking authority, ask yourself: • What are the author’s credentials? Can I find them easily? • Are the sources cited appropriately (bibliography, works cited, notes)? • If the source is a website, is it commercial, government, non-profit, etc.? Can you locate the author’s contact information? Has the site been reviewed?
Purpose• All authors publish for a particular audience and for a specific purpose. When evaluating a document, ask yourself: • Who is the intended audience? (Researchers, professionals, students, general population, etc.) • Is the information appropriate for your assignment? Is it too technical or too general? • Is the author trying to sell you a product or service? • What type of information is being conveyed? (Opinion, research, review, general summary)
Point of View• Determine is the source reflects a point of view or bias. When evaluating, ask yourself: • Is the item factual or is it an interpretation of facts? • Can the information be verified? • Does the author or publisher represent a religious, political, or other group? • Are there any assumptions, stereotypes, opinions? • On websites, do advertisements influence the content? • Are various points of view treated equally?
Summary• When working with your results it is important to assess the quality and quantity of the information. Remember to: Use appropriate strategies Always evaluate the item for currency, authority, purpose, and point of view Think critically about the information you find Up Next: Writing and Citing. You are ready to start writing your paper!