This is the "Research Tips" page of the "Author Project" guide.
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Last Updated: Feb 13, 2014 URL: Print Guide

Research Tips Print Page

Evaluating Information

Evaluating the sources you find is a crucial step in the process of library research since not all information is created equal. Just being in print or available via the Internet doesn't guarantee that what is produced is accurate or good research.


Research Strategies

Step 1 - Select Your Topic

Selecting a topic is possibly the most difficult part of doing research. Is it too big? Is it too narrow? Will I be able to find enough on it? Start by choosing a topic that you like or are curious about. You're going to be working on it for quite a while, so try and find one that's interesting and that you can reasonably cover in the time and space available.

Once you have your topic, write it out as a short sentence or question and look at the different components that make up your statement. Start compiling a list of the key words that you will use as you search for your topic

Step 2 - Find Background Information

Taking a few minutes to read about your topic in a specialized encyclopedia, dictionary or handbook may be one of the most effective and time saving research tips on this list.

Encyclopedias and textbooks are good places to start your research when you know little about a topic, when you need an overview of a subject, or when you want a quick summary of basic ideas. They are also useful for discovering the names of important people, and can familiarize you with the vocabulary of the field. Encyclopedia articles are often followed by carefully selected bibliographies or lists of references to other works, useful items to have as you begin looking for additional information.

Step 3 – Find  Library Resources

  1. The catalog - use this to locate books and other information specific to your project.
  2. Libguide - use this to jumpstart your research.
  3. Technology -use the available resources to assist your research.

Step 4 - Find Internet Sources

Use the Web to search for additional information.
Evaluate the information you find using the links under "Evaluating Information."


Refine your Topic

Choose the Best Search Engine

  • Sweet Search  Icon
    Focus on credible scholarship and primary source materials.

Google Custom Search

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