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Where to Start

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  • 1. Where to Start
  • 2. Starting a research project is easier when you are equipped with the keywords and ideas important to the topic. So where can you start collecting this type of information for your research?
  • 3. If you feel dismayed beginning a research project, remember this, your librarian is there to help you. Stop by the reference desk, call 610- 341-1777 or email reference1777@eastern.edu. You can also request and individual consultation with a librarian. However, there are resources you can use, right now, to start you on your way.
  • 4. Popular, consumer oriented, information resources can unlock words and ideas that are helpful in understanding a subject. Encyclopedias and dictionaries are tertiary resources that provide terms, names, dates and more to put your research in perspective. They provide a road map for ideas and discovery. Start with Reference Works.
  • 5. Good to a Point Never use a reference work as your only or main source. The information provided in an encyclopedia or dictionary is too general for serious research.
  • 6. Reference works are important sources for ideas commonly associated with a topic. They are a place to begin!! By gathering background information you control the course of the research.
  • 7. Look at the News Media The popular media reports on the issues that have changed the world. 150 years after the fact, the Gettysburg Address is still in the headlines. Newspapers, magazines and other news services provide both secondary and tertiary accounts of events.
  • 8. Old News The Internet provides access to many digitized newspapers and magazines. Articles and reports can provide a historic perspective on a topic like the Gettysburg Address. The Internet Archive, The Library of Congress’ Chronicling America and Google’s Online Historical Newspapers are useful resources. Searching these digitized archives can lead to exciting primary and secondary finds.
  • 9. Websites In the early stages of gathering background information, finding authoritative information from the World Wide Web is helpful.
  • 10. Evaluate But, with anything you find from the Internet, it is necessary to evaluate the information against other authorities to assure authority and reliability. As with any reference work, information from a single website should not be the sole basis for your research.
  • 11. Authority There are trustworthy websites! Look for these clues when evaluating a website. • Clearly documented authorship or organizational authority behind the information on the site • Trusted Domains (.edu or .gov) • Currency of the information
  • 12. . gov - government sites • Library of Congress • National Archives • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum • National Park Services Carries The Authority of Agencies of the U.S. Government.
  • 13. Ultimate .gov Search Search the entire .gov domain using USA.gov! This is the most inclusive tool for finding information carrying the authority of the of the U.S. Government.
  • 14. .gov offers trusted sites for all your studies • Center for Disease Control (CDC) • National Child Care Information Center (NCCIC) • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) • The US Small Business Administration (SBA) • Arctic Research Commission (ARC) • National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) • National Institutes of Health (NIH) • Library of Congress (LOC) • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  • 15. .edu – academic sites • Cornell University • Smithsonian Institutes • Pennsylvania State University Associated With The Authority of Various Academic Institutions
  • 16. .edu trusted sited for all your studies • Oncolink (University of Pennsylvania) • The Perseus Project (Tufts University) • eHistory (Ohio State University) • Voice of the Shuttle (University of California , Santa Barbara) • HIVInsite – (University of California, San Francisco) • World History for Us All (San Diego State University) • Smithsonian Institution (si.edu)
  • 17. .org for organizations Use professional organizational sites for news and information. Carries The Authority of Professional Organizations
  • 18. .orgs for all your studies Here are some examples. • American Psychological Association • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses • Society of Biblical Literature • National Association for Bilingual Education • National Association of Social Workers
  • 19. Not every .org site is credible. This site warns about the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO). The site looks serious. DHMO is also known as H20 or water.
  • 20. The .coms Use commercial sites for news and information. Here are some examples. • Chronicle of Higher Education • CNN • MSNBC • Medscape • Science Daily Carries the Authority of the For-Profit Sector
  • 21. Remember commercial sites are in business to make money. Use with caution.
  • 22. Use reference and consumer oriented information to gather ideas and keywords. Use the ideas and keywords you have gathered to formulate a research topic. Then search for the scholarly information you’ll need to support your research. A road map to begin.
  • 23. Next we’ll look more closely at the scholarly resources you’ll need to build your research paper. Revised Wednesday, February 4, 15.

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