How to Research a Paper or Project The research process follows a step by step pattern



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How to Research a Paper or Project

The research process follows a step by step pattern

  • Plan the project
  • Select and refine your topic
  • Find sources/locations
    • Evaluate your sources
  • Organize your findings
  • Present your findings

“Getting Started” skills

  • Plan the project
  • Select and refine your topic
  • Find sources/locations

Time Management

  • http:core.lib.purdue.edu/plan4.htm

Understanding Your Assignment

    • Format of the project (research paper, oral presentation, design . . .)
    • Length
    • Audience
    • Assessment criteria
    • Citation style (APA, MLA . . .)

Coming up with a topic

  • Your interests
  • Talk to instructor and classmates about your topic
  • Pose your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solved
  • Brainstorm ideas for a topic
  • Come up with keywords
  • Consider using broader & narrower terms

Search Strategy 101

  • Play with your topic
  • Sub-divisions of your topic?
  • Ideas to cluster?
  • Questions to answer?
  • Problems to solve?
  • Creative stuff to include?

Search Strategy

  • Penn State University Libraries. (2005). Retrieved August 22, 2005, from http://www.libraries.psu.edu/instruction/infolit/andyou/mod1/idea3.htm

Looking for Information

  • Check the library for:
    • Books, magazines, a/v chosen especially for you
    • Websites
    • Databases
    • Other libraries
    • Human expertise

Looking for Information

  • Check the world wide web for:
    • The Invisible Web (beyond google)
    • Online databases
    • Current information (online newspapers, articles, studies. . .)
    • The Library’s Best of the Web pages
  • Going Beyond Google
  • Holland College Library has licensed several databases that provide access to full text articles and current information:
    • CINAHLPlus with Full-text
    • Pubmed
    • MedlinePlus
    • Academic Search Elite
    • ScienceDirect Health & Life Sciences
    • Cochrane Library
  • Use subject-based dictionaries for definitions of concepts and terms within the context of a specialized field.
  • Use statistics to substantiate your position, and to support your claims.
  • Use subject-based encyclopedias to provide overviews before you search for specific journal articles.
  • Use periodicals and journals
  • for articles on current issues or past research, literature reviews, and professional practices and developments.
  • Use newspaper articles for current perspectives on issues.
  • Use government publications for information produced by the Canadian government and government agencies.

Taking Notes

  • Avoid plagiarism
    • Read the information, think, then put what you’ve read in your own words
    • Avoid cutting and pasting
    • Identify direct quotes
    • Document your sources as you take notes

Taking Notes

    • Create descriptive headings / subtopics
    • Use index cards or paper that can easily be reorganized
    • Keep the notes short
    • Add personal comments
  • http://webster.commnet.edu/mla/notes.shtml

Begin Writing

  • defined your topic
  • kept your research focused
  • read critically
  • absorbed the useful information

Cite Sources Appropriately

  • Use the APA style of citing sources in the text.
  • Use the APA style of listing sources at the end of your paper

Why Use APA Format?

  • Allows readers to cross-reference your sources easily
  • Provides consistent format within a discipline
  • Gives you credibility as a writer
  • Protects yourself from plagiarism

APA Reference Style: Three Main Concerns

  • Parenthetical Citations
  • In-Text Citations
  • Reference Page

When Should You Use Parenthetical Citations?

  • When summarizing facts and ideas from a source
    • Summarizing means to take ideas from a large passage of another source and condense them, using your own words
  • When paraphrasing a source
    • Paraphrasing means to use the ideas from another source but change the phrasing into your own words

When Should You Use Parenthetical Citations?

  • When quoting any words that are not your own
    • Quoting means to repeat another source word for word, using quotation marks

Reference List

  • A list of every source that you make reference to in your essay.
  • Provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any sources cited in your essay.
  • Each retrievable source cited in the essay must appear on the reference page, and vice versa.

References

  • Anderson, D. (2001, August 3). Statement by Environment Minister David Anderson on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Retrieved July 24, 2004, from http://www.ec.gc.ca/Press/2001/010803_s_e.htm
  • Blicq, R. (2001). Guidelines for report writing. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.
  • Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (1995). The craft of research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Harris, R. (2001). The plagiarism handbook. Los Angeles: Pyrczak.
  • Health Canada. (2004). West Nile virus. Retrieved July 19, 2004, from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/westnile/index.html
  • Jollimore, M. (2004, June 21). Fuel’s gold: Why Canada’s athletes pay so much attention to what they eat. Time, 163(25), 52-61.
  • Reitman, J. (2004). The Baghdad follies. Rolling Stone, 952/953, 110-117.

References

  • Anderson, D. (2001, August 3). Statement by Environment Minister David Anderson on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Retrieved July 24, 2004, from http://www.ec.gc.ca/Press/2001/010803_s_e.htm
  • Blicq, R. (2001). Guidelines for report writing. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.
  • Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (1995). The craft of research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Harris, R. (2001). The plagiarism handbook. Los Angeles: Pyrczak.
  • Health Canada. (2004). West Nile virus. Retrieved July 19, 2004, from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/westnile/index.html
  • Jollimore, M. (2004, June 21). Fuel’s gold: Why Canada’s athletes pay so much attention to what they eat. Time, 163(25), 52-61.
  • Reitman, J. (2004). The Baghdad follies. Rolling Stone, 952/953, 110-117.

References: Some Examples

  • Book Shay, J. (1994). Achilles in Vietnam: Combat trauma and the undoing of character. New York: Touchstone.
  • Article in a Magazine Klein, J. (1998, October 5). Dizzy days. The New Yorker, 40-45.

References: Some Examples

  • Web page Poland, D. (1998, October 26). The hot button. Roughcut. Retrieved October 28, 1998 from http://www.roughcut.com
  • Online Database
  • Edwards, C., & Crockett, R. (2007, April 16). New Music Phones—Without the i. Business Week, Retrieved August 10, 2007, from Academic Search Elite database.

References: Some Examples

  • A newspaper article Tommasini, A. (1998, October 27). Master teachers whose artistry glows in private. New York Times, p. B2.
  • A source with no known author Cigarette sales fall 30% as California tax rises. (1999, September 14). New York Times, p. A17.

Where Do I Find APA Format?

  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th ed.
  • www.apastyle.org
  • Composition textbooks
  • Landmark Citations http://citationmachine.net/

Automatic Citation Generators

  • Landmarks Citation Machine
  • KnightCite Citation Maker
  • Citation Wizard
  • Landmarks Citation Machine


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