So the first thing you should do is make a list of the sources you are going to use. This will keep you focused during research and is something you can show to your teacher if you are having problems finding relevant information.
Recommend that students actually start their research with a google search and look over the wikipedia article.
Do a google search for the class research topic and comment about the number of hits. Ask attendees if they regularly look at the sites listed on page 10 or 20. When talking about information quality talk about bias and misinformation. Mention that companies exist that code websites in such a way that they will end up in the top 10 hits, regardless of whether the information is good or not. Example of clean coal.
Talk about how I have found quotes with citations that looked interesting, only to find that the sources were made up or misquoted.
.com sites are commercial and generally contain information that is biased, for entertainment purposes only, or are trying to sell you something. Never use a .com site as a source when writing a research paper. .org sites are in a gray area. Some are maintained by organizations the provide unbiased, quality information. Some do not. You need to really dig into the organization supplying the information in order to determine it’s quality. When at all possible use information from other, more reliable sources for your papers or present the information from these sites as being unconfirmed. .Edu and .Gov sites generally provide the best information. .Edu is reserved for educational organiations (colleges) and can be excellent resources regarding current research. .Gov sites are reserved for governmental organizations and can be a fantastic source for statistics.
Once you have looked over Google and Wikipedia to get a feel for the subject it’s time to start doing some real research. Now, I didn’t mention databases earlier for my health. These are probably the BEST way to do
I could stand up here all day giving you tours of the various databases but instead will walk you through Academic Search Complete by EBSCO. This is a great go-to database for scholarly works and peer reviewed journals. Also, the skills you will learn for this will translate to many of our other databases as they also are provided by EBSCO.
I want to stress that the articles that you find using Academic Search Complete should be considered PRINT resources. All of these articles have been published in physical journals. The reason we subscribe to databases instead of the actual journals is because it saves the library money (these can be VERY expensive) and space.
Keyword searching is what most of you are used to when using Google and is quite useful if you are willing to find anything about a topic. Keyword search works by scanning what information is available (sometimes the entire document!) and matches your search terms exactly. However, if you are trying to do extensive research on a topic keyword searching has its drawbacks. First, you will not get hits on documents that use synonyms (i.e. if you search for cats and this perfect, amazing, wonderful document uses the word feline). Second, you might get hits on things that have nothing to do with what you want because the word you searched for is in there somewhere.
One thing you can do to improve your search results is use boolean terms. These are and, or, and not. And requires that both terms be found for a document to be returned as a hit. Or is good for synonyms and not is for when your search term has more than one use and you want to limit unwanted hits. You can also put search phrases in quotation marks, this is good when what you are looking for is made up of common terms.
Once you have found one or two items that you feel represent the topic you are researching take a look at the subject terms listed. These are terms assigned using a controlled vocabulary, usually by an information professional. Subject headings are a great way to find everything that a library has on a given topic. You can also use the subject terms tool, found at the top of the page to look up related terms that you might not have considered on your own. EBSCO makes it easy to search from the subject headings page. First, find the term you are interested in, then click on every box that you think would bring up relevant materials. You can do this using any of the boolean search terms we talked about before. So if you want to do a very braod search click three or four headings and choose “or”.
This is the point where you will begin writing your paper. Start by pulling quotes that are relevant to your topic. These are the backbone of your paper and should come from multiple sources. Begin to tie them together in your own way to support your topic. In most cases, DO NOT ignore conflicting viewpoints. These should be acknowledged and discussed or at least used to point out places where further research could be performed. And most importantly CITE CITE CITE CITE.
Plagiarism is theft, plain and simple. If you wouldn’t walk into a grocery store and take a loaf of bread without paying for it then you shouldn’t take someone else’s words and pretend that they are your own.
At this point you should have enough information to write your paper. State your thesis clearly, use information found in the resources you have discovered to back up your idea. Acknowledge dissenting opinions and discuss why they might exist. Make sure to acknowledge wording that is not your own with citations. You can never cite too much.
And don’t ever forget your public and school librarians as a resource for your research. Even as a graduate student IN library and information science I still go to my school’s librarians when I’m doing research just because they are more experienced and may come up with search terms and find resources that I would miss. We love answering reference questions, it’s why we have spent years and thousands of dollars to get these darn degrees, so don’t ever ever think you asking a question will be unwelcome.
Beyond Wikipedia Research skills for better grades Presented by: Courtney Marshall, MLIS Candidate, University of Washington
A Brief Introduction or Why should you listen to this person in the front of the room <ul><li>Will be graduating with my Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington in June. </li></ul><ul><li>As a graduate student have written more papers than in high school and college combined. </li></ul><ul><li>Actually graduated high school with very little knowledge about how to write a good paper and struggled during my undergrad. </li></ul><ul><li>Everything I will be teaching today are skills I learned over years of hard work and thousands of dollars in tuition. </li></ul>
Step One: Task Definition <ul><li>What are you going to write your paper on?? </li></ul><ul><li>Start with a very broad topic. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down what you already know. </li></ul><ul><li>Have a few questions in mind in case you can’t find enough information on your first one. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure to get clarification NOW on any questions you may have about topic selection or the paper format. </li></ul>
Step Two: Information Seeking Strategies <ul><li>Where will you go to find the information you need? </li></ul><ul><li>Google? </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia? </li></ul><ul><li>The Library? </li></ul><ul><li>Visit a museum? </li></ul><ul><li>Interview a knowledgeable person? </li></ul>If you are having a hard time coming up with a list of places to look, don’t forget to ask your teacher or librarian for ideas.
What about databases? <ul><li>Online databases through your school or public library are a fantastic place to do research. They provide access to newspaper and journal articles on many subjects. The information is: </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to access </li></ul><ul><li>Authoritative (comes from experts or professionals and are generally reviewed) </li></ul><ul><li>Free: Professional journals are very expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Hint: Except for some very rare exceptions using the databases is ALWAYS a good idea. </li></ul>
Books are old news. The web is the future of research! <ul><li>Unless you are required to use books there are MUCH better ways to do most research. </li></ul><ul><li>Who has time to read a huge stack of books in order to find the specific information you need? </li></ul>
You have to know how to find the best, most relevant information <ul><li>Most websites have the problem that you don’t know whether the information on them is correct or not. </li></ul><ul><li>So what should you look for? </li></ul>
Step 3: Search and Evaluation Yeah… I know exactly where you start.
… and there’s nothing wrong with that <ul><li>Google and Wikipedia are fantastic for: </li></ul><ul><li>Getting an idea about what is out there </li></ul><ul><li>Finding information on current events and popular culture </li></ul><ul><li>Discovering new keywords </li></ul>
Drawbacks of Google <ul><li>SO MANY HITS!! </li></ul><ul><li>Google does NOT sort by the quality of information. </li></ul><ul><li>What if someone uses a different term than the one you searched for? </li></ul>
Drawbacks of Wikipedia <ul><li>Want to guess what qualifications you need to update a Wikipedia entry? </li></ul>
Drawbacks of Wikipedia <ul><li>How about nothing? </li></ul><ul><li>For many articles you don’t even need to create an account. </li></ul><ul><li>Because of this you should take the information on Wikipedia with a grain of salt, even when citations are provided. </li></ul>
How to find good information online Slide design by Cinthya Ippoliti, Maricopa Community College District .COM .ORG .GOV .EDU
Didn’t I mention databases earlier…? The library provides FREE access to databases on many topics including: Biographies History Genealogy Law Health Science There are also Encyclopedias and general purpose databases.
<ul><li>Found on the library database website under Articles from Magazines and Journals. </li></ul><ul><li>GREAT go-to database for scholarly works and peer-reviewed journals. </li></ul><ul><li>Student Research Center located on the database homework help site provides simpler access to the EBSCO databases. </li></ul>Academic Search Complete
Pros and Cons of Keyword Searches <ul><li>Pros </li></ul><ul><li>- Easy to do </li></ul><ul><li>Will find anything remotely related to your topic </li></ul><ul><li>Cons </li></ul><ul><li>Will not find materials that don’t use your exact search terms </li></ul><ul><li>Will find EVERYTHING with your word in it (i.e. the Google problem). </li></ul>
Boolean Search Terms <ul><li>Here are some ways to make your keyword searches a little better. </li></ul><ul><li>And : Computers and Games </li></ul><ul><li>Or: Cats or Felines </li></ul><ul><li>Not: Mullet not hair </li></ul><ul><li>Quotation marks can be used around phrases to tweak searches. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Hunger Games” </li></ul>I thought your report was on fish??
Subject Headings <ul><li>Subject headings are assigned terms using a controlled vocabulary. </li></ul><ul><li>Are fantastic for doing extensive research on a topic. </li></ul><ul><li>Can use the thesaurus to find related, broader and narrower terms that you might not have found on your own. </li></ul>
Step four: Using what you find <ul><li>Start to pull together the information you are finding. </li></ul><ul><li>Copy AND CITE quotes that support your thesis. Don’t ignore information that goes against your idea. </li></ul>
… and it’s so easy to avoid! <ul><li>“ According to XXX …” </li></ul><ul><li>“ As stated in X book by X author…” </li></ul><ul><li>Academic Search Complete’s citation button. </li></ul><ul><li>Son of Citation Machine </li></ul><ul><li>APA Style Guide from the Purdue OWL </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure to ask your instructor what form of citation they want you to use. There are lots of styles out there. </li></ul>
Step five: Pulling it all together <ul><li>Once you have your backbone of quotes laid out start tying them together with what you have learned. </li></ul><ul><li>You COULD write a paper using only one source, but then is it really yours or are you stealing from that author? </li></ul>
If at any time you are feeling stuck and stressed about your research…
Don’t forget your best source of all <ul><li>Your local librarians are trained in research methods and have the experience to help you find exactly what you need. All for FREE! </li></ul>
Sources Used <ul><li>Big Six </li></ul><ul><li>Eisenberg, Mike, Doug Johnson, and Bob Berkowitz. "Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) Skills Curriculum Based on the Big6 Skills Approach to Information Problem-Solving." Library Media Connection 28.6 (2010): 24-27. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 29 Nov. 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>Website Stoplight </li></ul><ul><li>Maricopa Community Colleges Content Manager: Cinthya Ippoliti Sponsoring Organization: Information Literacy Group Multimedia Developer: Sam Fraulino </li></ul>