DEVELOPING A RESEARCH STRATEGYGetting Started with PreResearch and Keywords
You have a topic…so what’s next?As you are working through the brainstorming process, you may discover thatthough you may know quite a bit about your topic, there are still some gaps inyour knowledge of it. Example: I’d like to research the Quaker Abolitionist movement, but what are the exact date ranges? Who are all they key players? What about Quaker theology leads them to believe in abolitionism? You may want to do some pre-research so that you can learn more well-known facts about the subject. PreResearch is also a great time to reread information that you may already be familiar with as a way to help you organize your thoughts and ideas as you begin the research process.
Pre-Research is a process that allows you toExpand your keyword list.Become more familiar with terminology used by researchers.Discover new information that helps you to narrow your research topic.Not all of the sources and information that you discover during thePre-Research phase will be used in your final product or paper.
Sources for Pre-Research There are many great resources for pre-research available through the Dover Library. Credo Reference CQ Researcher Opposing Viewpoints GALE Virtual ReferenceEach of these can be located by going to the Find Resources tab on the library’shomepage. Choose the link to view the Online Databases by Title and choosethe appropriate alphabetic tab for the database you wish to use.
Creating a Keyword ListKeywords and keyword phrases are the terms you will use to research yourtopic in the online catalog and online databases.Write down all of your ideas, interesting terms, names, concepts that youencounter while researching, reading, and during class discussions.By developing a keyword list, you are designing a customized “researchlanguage” that allows you to communicate with the databases.Your keyword list will also become a valuable thesaurus of terms that willbe helpful when you begin to write your papers, articles, anddissertations.Creating a Keyword List makes the research process more efficient.
Creating a keyword listThis process allows you to learn and develop your knowledgeof the field’s unique and evolving vocabulary.A Keyword List is something that you will continue todevelop throughout the research and writing process.Take a look at the example topic on the next slide and thekeyword list created from it.
Creating a Keyword List Abolitionist response to slavery. Abolitionist Quakers Society of Friends Baptists William Wilberforce Slave Trade Act of 1807 Slavery Abolition Act 1833 Slavery American Civil War United Kingdom
Using ATLA and Bulldog OneSearch to add to your keyword list. As you search in the online databases, notice that the database you are using is probably giving you clues for additional keywords to add to your list. While using ATLA or Bulldog OneSearch, check out the narrowers in the left toolbar. Don’t forget the value of the article record! There is often a section labeled: descriptors, author supplied keywords, or subjects. This is a great place to find new buzz words and vocabulary being used by researchers in the field.