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Embarking on a research journey



Explains the process of doing research, including how to find and evaluate information, and how to manage your time and maximize your effort.

Explains the process of doing research, including how to find and evaluate information, and how to manage your time and maximize your effort.



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Embarking on a research journey Embarking on a research journey Presentation Transcript

  • What you really need to know to get started.
    Embarking on a Research Journey
  • Above all, don’t panic! We’ll all get to our destinations in the end.
    Things to keep in mind before we dive in:
    1. Research is a PROCESS, like a journey.
    2. Every good journey requires planning.
    3. There’s no shame in asking for directions when you get lost.
  • Today, we’ll be covering…
    How to find and evaluate sources.
    How to cite the sources you choose to use.
    How to save yourself headaches later by doing things thoughtfully now (work smarter, not harder).
  • PART 1: Sources
  • Primary vs. Secondary Sources
    What makes a source primary?
    A. It is not a book.
    B. It was produced at the time of the event.
    C. It is a first-hand account of the event, even if written years later.
    D. Both B and C.
    ANSWER: D.
  • Primary vs. Secondary SourcesFormat plays no role!
    First-hand accounts (e.g. journals, letters, memoirs)
    Artifacts contemporary with the event (e.g. photographs)
    Any treatment which draws conclusions based on primary sources (e.g. history book)
  • For our purposes, there are three main formats for sources.
    Databases (The Deep Web)
    The Internet (The Surface Web)
  • The internet is like an iceberg. Most of it is below the surface.
    Most of the real gems on the internet will never show up in a Google Search. They are part of the “Deep Web,” stored behind password protected firewalls in databases and archives.
    Take advantage of the resources that the library can give you access to!
    About 8 billion pages in the Surface Web*
    About 85 billion pages in the Deep Web*
    *Bright Planet Corp. “Largest Deep Web Sites.” Sept. 8,2010. http://aip.completeplanet.com/aip-engines/help/largest_engines.jsp (accessed September 8, 2010).
  • Where to start looking (in order)
    1. The Surface Web
    Gain a basic familiarity with the topic, and a general idea about which search terms (keywords) to use. Bookmark anything that looks valuable.
    2. Databases
    Use your search terms to find great content.
    Use subject searching as well as keywords.
    Aim for primary sources in addition to secondary ones.
    3. Books
    Find more detailed or specific information.
    Find supporting arguments from credible scholars.
  • Search terms and advanced search operators
    • Think backwards from the ideal item that you could retrieve, to your search terms.
    • Think in terms of keywords, and their synonyms.
    • Be as specific as possible with your search to narrow the results and target a great match.
    • Use operators to search more effectively:
    • “Quotes” keep phrases together (“apple pie”)
    • OR searches for both terms (teens OR teenagers)
    • NOT (-)eliminates results (war -Iraq)
    • * is a wildcard (wom*n = women and woman)
  • Library.hawken.edu
    The databases gateway organizes all the databases
    that you have access to in one spot.
    TIP: Keep your Hawken library card handy!
  • CLEVNET Catalog (clevnet.org)
    Search for books from the entire CLEVNET consortium, and place holds using your card.
    TIP: Keep your Hawken library card handy!
  • Okay, I found some sources. Now what?
    You need to evaluate them to ensure high quality of scholarship, accuracy, usefulness for your research, and to detect any biases.
  • Author Authority   Who created the item?  What is his or her affiliation?  What is his or her relationship to the information contained in the source?
    Audience and Purpose Who is the intended audience?  Why was the item created?
    Accuracy and Completeness Is the evidence reliable and up to date?  Are the important points covered?  How does the source compare to other similar sources?  What may have been left out?
    Footnotes and DocumentationAre the author's sources in secondary and reference literature clearly identified with complete citations to allow you to find the original source yourself?
    Perspective and BiasHow do the author's bias and perspective inform the arguments and evidence presented?
    Secondary Source Evaluation
    Presnell, Jenny L. The Information-Literate Historian . New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. 
  • To understand the value and limitations of a source, try to answer the following questions:
    Is this source a firsthand account, written by a witness or participant?
    Was it written at the time of the event or later?
    Is the account based on interviews or evidence from those directly involved?
    To detect biases, try to answer these questions:
    Did the author have a stake in how an event was remembered? Did he or she want this issue to be perceived in a particular way?
    Was the author writing for a specific audience?
    If possible, compare several primary sources against each other to determine reliability and accuracy. If they conflict, consider why this might be.
    Primary Source Evaluation
    Bedford/St. Martin's. "Guidelines for Evaluating Primary Documents." Bedford/St. Martin's. http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/history/modules/guides/guide_documents.htm (accessed October 18, 2010).
  • 60 Second Challenge: Turn to someone seated next to you.Come up with an easy way to remember the evaluation criteria.(An acronym, a rhyme, etc.)
    (Hint: You can use synonyms for these words…)
    Author Authority   
    Audience and Purpose 
    Accuracy and Completeness 
    Footnotes and Documentation
    Perspective and Bias
  • T = Timeliness: The information is up to date.
    A = Authority: Author is qualified and has listed credentials.
    C = Coverage: Topic is deeply covered and cited.
    O = Objectivity: Document based on fact and not opinion.
    R = Reliability: Can the information be backed by other sources?
    E = Evidence: Do they explain and cite their evidence?
    A = Authority: Who wrote the article?
    D = Date: When was the website last updated?
    S = See if the author(s) have authority.
    M = Many sites give outdated information.
    A = A specific audience may be targeted.
    R = Reliability helps determine accuracy.
    T = Try to determine if information is unbiased.
    More Evaluation Acronyms
    Lincoln, Margaret. "Information Evaluation & Online Coursework." Knowledge Quest Jan.-Feb. 2010: 28-31. Print.
  • Locating books on the shelf
    Both the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system and the Library of Congress (LC) arrange materials according to their subject, so that similar items are located next to or near each other on the shelf.
    We need to be able to interpret both, since Hawken library (and most small-medium public libraries) uses Dewey, while Cleveland Public Library and most universities use LC.
  • A Dewey call number has three (okay, sometimes four) parts.
    Prefix Code (Optional)
    Means the item is in a special collection area.
    Ex: GN, REF
    Author Last Name (Alphabetical)
    Decimal Point
    Specific Subject Area
    (Sorted numerically in Ascending order)
    General Subject Area
    (Sorted numerically in Ascending order)
    100: General Works
    200: Religion
    300: Social Sciences
    400: Language
    500: Natural Sciences & Mathmatics
    600: Technology (Applied Sciences)
    700: The Arts
    800: Literature & Rhetoric
    900: Geography & History
    What Dewey Call Numbers Mean
  • More specific as we move to the right
    REF 808 PER
    REF 808 PER
    REF 808.003 SIN
    REF 808 GAI
    REF 808.02 TUR
    This facilitates shelf browsing.Left= more general. Right = more specific.
  • An LC call number ALSO has three (okay, sometimes four) parts.
    DS35.53 .O96
    Subject Division Main Code
    (21 Letters)
    Cutter Number
    (Coded representation of the author)
    Subject Sub-Division Code
    Subject Area
    (Sorted numerically in Ascending order)
    A: General Works
    B: Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
    C: Auxiliary Sciences of History
    D: World History and Histories of Africa, Asia, Europe, etc.
    E: History of the Americas
    F: History of the Americas
    G: Geography, Anthropology, Recreation
    H: Social Sciences
    J: Political Science
    K: Law
    L: Education
    M: Music
    N: Fine Arts
    P: Language and Literature
    Q: Science
    R: Medicine
    S: Agriculture
    T: Technology
    U: Military Science
    V: Naval Science
    Z: Bibliography, Library Science, Information Resources
    What LC Call Numbers Mean
  • PART 2: Citations
  • What is a citation?
    Broadly, a citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source (not always the original source).
    More precisely, a citation is an abbreviated alphanumeric expression (e.g. [Newell84]) embedded in the body of an intellectual work that denotes an entry in the bibliographic references section of the work for the purpose of acknowledging the relevance of the works of others to the topic of discussion at the spot where the citation appears.
    Generally the combination of both the in-text citation and the bibliographic entry constitutes what is commonly thought of as a citation (whereas bibliographic entries by themselves are not).
  • What needs to be cited?
    Direct quotations from a source;
    Images (including maps);
    Ideas paraphrased from a source;
    Statistics or facts;
    Pretty much anything that was not originally created by you. (When in doubt, cite it.)
  • NoodleTools
    • Create your bibliography with templates based on your source.
    • Annotate each source entry and generate your Annotated Bibliography.
    • Virtual notecards can link directly to your sources for easy citations.
    • You can drag and drop your notecards into piles, or into an outline, and keep track of tasks and deadlines associated with your research.
  • PART 3: Work smart.
  • The first time: Evaluate and skim the source for usefulness. If you think you might use it, create a citation and annotate it with important points from your evaluation, as well as the reasons why you think the source will be useful.
    The second time: Read the source carefully and capture notes, including quotations you want to use, as well as your paraphrased summaries and your own ideas which are linked to that source. From this point on, you can work from your notes rather than re-reading the source over and over.
    Try to “handle” each source only twice.
  • Always create a citation for your source when you first find it. Don’t wait until the end! (This includes ALL sources, even those from the web.)
    Create a citation for every source that you think you might potentially use, and then tailor your final bibliography based on what you actually use in your paper.
    When you take notes, be sure to always connect them back to their source so that you can properly cite them. Specific page numbers matter.
    If you photocopy pages from a source, make sure you clearly identify which source they came from so that you can properly cite them.
    Tips for managing your citations.
  • Most importantly: Ask questions.
    Your ability to write a great paper is largely about your ability to pose interesting and thoughtful questions to answer.
    When you get stuck, don’t give up! Leave yourself enough time to try different approaches, and to ask for help if you can’t figure it out.
  • That’s all for now. We’ll do some hands-on stuff after lunch.
    Are your brains full yet?
    They are?