Research based writing


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A presentation for the National Day of Writing event at the University of Nebraska Kearney on November 9, 2011. Presenters: Jon Ritterbush and Ron Wirtz of UNK's Calvin T. Ryan Library.

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  • Research based writing

    1. 1. RESEARCH BASEDWRITINGNOVEMBER 9, 2011Jon Ritterbush & Ron WirtzCalvin T. Ryan Library – University of Nebraska Kearney
    2. 2. Steps of the Research Process  STEP 1: Define a Topic  STEP 2: Plan the Search  STEP 3: Find Information  STEP 4: Evaluate What is Found  STEP 5: Cite Your Sources
    3. 3. STEP 1: Define a Topic Try stating the research topic as a question. For example: “What is the effect of television violence on children?“ OR Try defining the research topic as a thesis statement in one or two sentences. For example: "Watching television with too much violence can have a negative impact on children.“ With a research topic question or statement in mind, planning a search strategy (Step 2) will be easier!
    4. 4. STEP 1: Define a Topic Choose a topic that is interesting and relevant to the assignment. Choose a topic that is accessible to you. Choose a topic with an appropriate scope. Here are some ways to narrow a broad research topic:  Population, ethnic or age group.  A particular geographical area or environment.  A particular theory or approach.  A methodology such as field experiments, research studies, or naturalistic observations.  A certain author, movement, or historical event.
    5. 5. STEP 2: Plan the Search Identify key words or concepts within your topic, and consider other similar terms that may be relevant. If youre having trouble thinking of key words, ask a librarian for assistance!
    6. 6. STEP 2: Plan the Search These key words will be helpful in building sophisticated search queries.
    7. 7. STEP 2: Plan the Search Using "OR" will usually broaden or increase the number of search results. Using "AND" to combine terms will usually narrow or decrease the number of search results. Using an asterisk (*) at the end of a partial word will broaden or increase search results by including multiple word endings.
    8. 8. STEP 3: Find InformationHaving a well-defined research topic and asearch plan can improve the quality of yourresearch.Knowing the right toolsto use can expedite theresearch process.
    9. 9. STEP 3: Find InformationPrint Encyclopedias& Online Reference Library Catalog Tools Books, e-books, gov’t Great for background/ documents, videos introductory info Internet search Article Databases engines Websites of gov’t agenciesNewspaper & magazine or non-profits; some freearticles, peer-reviewed online news sources; may journal articles link to UNK Library resources*
    10. 10. STEP 4: Evaluate What isFoundEvaluate your information using the CRAAP Test: Currency – Is this information up-to-date? Relevance – Does this source address your topic in sufficient detail? Accuracy – How reliable and valid is this information? Does the author list his/her sources? Authority – What are the author(s) qualifications? Who produces this publication or hosts this website? Purpose – Is the information presented objectively?*Modified version of CRAAP Test created by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.
    11. 11. STEP 5: Cite Your SourcesPlagiarism is a serious academic offense! Whenin doubt, you should always give credit wherecredit is due.“You are plagiarizing if you: Quote directly from a book or periodical without using quotation marks and a note to indicate that the material is not yours. Paraphrase an author, sentence by sentence, without acknowledging the author as the source of the material. Use, without acknowledgement, an idea put forward by an author when you can’t find the same idea in two or more independent sources."11.Badke, William B. (2004). Research Strategies: Finding Your Way through the Information Fog (pp.123). New York:iUniverse.
    12. 12. STEP 5: Cite Your SourcesCommon knowledge is factual information whichrequires no citation or verbal credit in the body ofa research paper.Examples of common knowledge include: The moon is 225,745 miles from the earth. The Battle of Gettysburg was fought on July 1-3, 1863. Mark Twain was the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
    13. 13. STEP 5: Cite Your SourcesRemember: UNK subscribes to SafeAssign, anonline tool which assists faculty in screeningpapers for plagiarism.To avoid plagiarism: Start your assignment early! Note your sources during your research stage Cite your sources in your writing Citation and proofreading help is available at the UNK Writing Center in the Learning Commons (Library 2nd floor)
    14. 14. For more researchassistance…  Connect with a librarian at Ask Us 24/7  Find online research guides at:  See the Library Research Tutorial at
    15. 15. Q&A  Ron Wirtz Coordinator of User Services  Jon Ritterbush E-Resources and Serials Librarian