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Have a Research Plan
- Know your assignment
- What does the end product need to look like. What types of sources are required or are not allowed.
- Know your topic
- You may need to do some background research before you start. Make note of terminology and experts.
- Have a thesis statement
- This will help keep you focused.
- List of sources to check
- Look at A- Z list to see all sources provided by the library.
- List of search terms
- Update as you go. Note better terms you find as you make progress.
- Start with a keyword search. Keyword searches will give you a broad range of results so you can see more of the types of information available.
- Be sure to try multiple searches and search terms. Think of all the possible terms for a topic including alternate names, spellings, or abbreviations.
- Truncation allows you to search for all possible endings to a root word. For example using Child* in the databases will find results that contain child, children, childhood, child's, etc.
- The Discover search field at the top of the library homepage allows you to search nearly all of the library’s resources at once.
- Many of the databases offer special criteria to help you narrow down your search results. You can tell them to search for scholarly articles only, set specific date range, type of publication, type of patient, and more.
- Check the article type. Many journals will include editorials and book and film reviews that should not be used as research sources.
Authority- Does the source have an author or sponsoring organization that is qualified and knowledgeable about the topic you are researching?
Accuracy- Is the information on the site correct? You may need to have a second source to fact check against if you are not sure.
Currency- When was the source published? If you are using a website look for the date it was last updated. Different fields and topics have different standards of acceptable date ranges.
Objectivity- Is the Information on the site biased? Look for ads, editorial writings, or other indications that the source is meant to sway the audience to a particular point of view.
Coverage- How comprehensive is the source? Some projects benefit from sources that offer a general overview. Others will require a more in-depth analysis of a narrow topic. Be sure you know what will be best suited to your project.