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Getting Started with research and keywords. From the Libraries of Montgomery County Community College. Updated 8-8-12 by librarians Mary Beth Parkinson and Jerry Yarnetsky. Contact us at

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  1. 1. MC3 Libraries Learn how to locate sources for your research paper. Research
  2. 2. MC3 Libraries What is Research?
  3. 3. MC3 Libraries Research is a systematic approach to defining, refining, gathering and evaluating information. With a world of information, we need to be systematic to find anything…
  4. 4. MC3 Libraries Hi. I’m librarian Mary Beth Parkinson. I’ll guide you through researching a topic using a range of print and electronic sources. Need Help? Ask Us! Brendlinger Library (215) 641-6594 West Campus Library (610) 718-1864 IM a librarian
  5. 5. MC3 Libraries Choose a topic Write down a topic you want to learn more about. For example… Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Your topic will gain focus as you do research. Photo by Sgt. Russell Gilchrest
  6. 6. MC3 Libraries Start with the basics! Familiarize yourself with your topic by finding background information in a subject encyclopedia. Your textbook is also a good source for background information!
  7. 7. MC3 Libraries Subject encyclopedias You will find … • An overview of your topic; • Ideas to focus your topic; • Keywords to search for books and articles; • Bibliographies to point out useful books, webpages, and articles. Talk with a librarian to find the best print or online encyclopedia!
  8. 8. MC3 Libraries Using a subject encyclopedia To find articles in a print encyclopedia, check the index located in the last volume. Here is an example from the Encyclopedia of Psychology. Arrows point to articles that may be of use. The numbers represent volume: page number. The primary article is in bold.
  9. 9. MC3 Libraries Also on our website… We have a number of online encyclopedias and reports on current issues. On our library website, go to Research then choose “Current Issues” from the “Refine by Subject” menu. Look for… • Credo Reference • CQ Researcher • Opposing Viewpoints Our list of research resources changes automatically with each subject you select!
  10. 10. MC3 Libraries As you read your encyclopedia article, highlight keywords. Highlighters: photosteve101/Flikr
  11. 11. MC3 Libraries Keywords are words that define or describe your topic Skeleton Key: Courtney Mault/Flikr
  12. 12. MC3 Libraries For example
  13. 13. MC3 Libraries Brainstorm your own keywords. Try synonyms of words you found in your reading. Also consider people, places and terminology related to your topic
  14. 14. MC3 Libraries Focus your topic. After you collect keywords, try focusing your topic by writing your ideas as questions. For example… How has care for veterans suffering from PTSD improved in the past century?
  15. 15. MC3 Libraries Keywords unlock information Keyhole photo: Just Chaos/Flikr You will search by keyword to find books & articles tagged with matching keywords.
  16. 16. MC3 Libraries Let’s compare our libraries to Facebook… On Facebook, photos are tagged with names. Search a name and find photos of that person. Mary Beth Sarah Jerry
  17. 17. MC3 Libraries In our libraries books & articles are tagged with titles, authors, subjects and descriptions.
  18. 18. MC3 Libraries Now let’s put your keywords to work Go to the next tutorial and let’s find books, articles, and websites
  19. 19. MC3 Libraries Need Help? Visit, Call, IM or Email Brendlinger Library (215) 641-6594 West Campus Library (610) 718-1864 IM a librarian