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Basic Information: The Research Process

Overview of library information and services.

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The Research Process

Step 1: Choose a research topic

The following can help:
• Readings for your class
• Encyclopedias: general ones such as Encyclopedia Britannica or subject-specific ones such as Encyclopedia of Science and Technology
• CQ Researcher or Opposing Viewpoints: contain information on current social issues and hot topics

Step 2: Turn your research topic into a question

Topic: global warming and energy
Question: How should energy policy change to reduce global warming?

Step 3: Identify keywords, and think of synonyms and related concepts

Use the Search Help tab for tips on using your keywords to search for articles and books.

Step 4: Find an overview and background information on your topic

The following can help:
• Credo Reference: database of hundreds of encyclopedias and dictionaries
• Encyclopedia Britannica
• Print encyclopedia: most are located in the reference collection on the lower level of the library

Be sure to use the bibliography at the end of encyclopedia entries.  This is a good, easy way to find additional information on your topic.

Step 5: Find books on your topic

Use the Books tab in this guide to access the catalogs for Dominican and for other libraries.  Use the Search Help tab for tips on conducting your search.

Step 6: Find articles on your topic

Use the Articles tab in this guide to access the article databases.  Use the Search Help tab for tips on conducting your search.

Step 7: Find web sites on your topic

Use the Web Sites tab in this guide for assistance in finding accurate and reliable web sites.

Step 8: Evaluate what you have found

Use the criteria listed on your annotated bibliography assignment.

Step 9: Keep track of what information came from what source

When taking notes, make sure to write down a full citation for each source.  This makes writing and citing much easier, and helps you avoid plagiarism.

Step 10: Start writing

 

This list was adapted with permission from:
Reference Department
Collections, Reference, Instruction & Outreach (CRIO)
Cornell University Library
Ithaca, NY, USA