Before beginning your research process,make sure you understand the parameters your instructor has set out for this assignment. Read the assignment instructions more than once.
Some of the parameters for this assignment are:
Before you can write about a topic, you need to learn about it. This is done by reading background information about a topic to understand the basics of that topic. Background information can be found in topic overviews, and sometimes in books.
To find topic overviews, go to the library's home page and search in the START HERE section by typing your topic into the search box, then clicking Search. To read an article from the results list, click the title.
Broad topics are very difficult to research because they include a multitude of sub-topics. Once you have picked a broad topic, make it research-ready by narrowing and focusing it. Narrowing a topic means making it more specific.
Focusing a topic generates terms that can be used in research databases to obtain relevant sources.
|Broad topic||Narrowed topic||Focused topic||Possible searches|
|special education||learning disabilities||
|depression||depression in middle school children||
Why use books? Books often contain background information and are written at a level that is easy to understand. You do not have to use the entire book -- look for chapters or even passages that may help your research.
To find books, go to the library's home page and search under FIND BOOKS. Use a subject search for more targeted results.
Use the EBSCO portal to access over 30 databases and millions of articles. For more targeted results, use a subject search.
EBSCO allows you to refine your results. After you get your results list, check the left hand side of the screen, where you can continue to refine your results using different limiters.
This assignment requires that you have professional sources. These are sources that are written by professionals and also targeted to professionals. This means that you can't use the Web the way you normally do, as most of the sources you find will be inappropriate for the level of research required for this assignment.
 Be choosy when selecting Web sources
 Filter your results by using special search patterns. The following searches work with Google or Bing.
Example: autism site:gov
[term] site: cdc.gov
Example: migraine site: cdc.gov
"People with norovirus illness are most contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill and for the first few days after they recover. Some people may be contagious for even longer" ("Prevent the Spread of Norovirus," 2017).
Why: This quote is just standing by itself -- while there is a citation, the reader has no idea why the writer used this quote. There is no analysis and no demonstration of understanding.
Norovirus is highly contagious. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "people with norovirus illness are most contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill and for the first few days after they recover. Some people may be contagious for even longer" ("Prevent the Spread of Norovirus," 2017).
Why: Adding "According to" does not truly incorporate research nor demonstrate understanding. There is no analysis of the significance of the quote, and the quote is the most dominant item in the sentence, which may be seen as plagiarism.
Norovirus is highly contagious. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people affected by norovirus can be contagious for several days ("Prevent the Spread of Norovirus," 2017). This is why prevention is so important.
Why: This arrangement introduces the idea of the danger of norovirus, then provides information from a source and paraphrases the information, and then explains the significance of the information.
Citing sources is a two-part process -- sources must be cited in the body of the essay (using in-text and/or parenthetical citations) and at the end of the essay (References or Works Cited lists).
Citing is not hard -- all it takes is some practice. The librarians can help you develop your citing skills -- just ask for help.
This assignment allows you to use MLA style or APA style for citing. Learn how to cite using the library's citation playbooks: