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SYA3300

Research Methods

Welcome

Welcome to the research guide for SYA3300. Here you will find resources to help you do research for your class.

research TIPS!

  • Start off with getting a general understanding of your topic by collecting background information through things like encyclopedias, basic Internet searching, news, etc.
  • Build on that basic information by researching your topic across other formats and resources like books, periodicals, databases, etc.
  • As you continue to search narrow down our topic to make it more manageable and specific, use the tools built-in to the databases and other resources to help guide you, such as subject headings, tags, related searches, etc.
  • Ask for help!

evaluate & decide

Most college-level assignments expect you to take a critical view of all your sources, not just those you may have found online. It is always important to consider whether the authors of what you are reading are properly qualified and present convincing arguments. Because your time for careful reading is limited, try to skim through your sources first to decide whether they are truly helpful. Once you have chosen your best sources, read the most relevant ones first, leaving the more tangential material aside to use as background information.

Learning to identify scholarly (often known as "peer-reviewed") and non-scholarly sources of information is an important skill to cultivate. Many databases provide help with making this distinction.

Additionally, Ulrich's Directory of Publications is a database that can be searched to check to check the publication type (scholarly, refereed, magazine, etc).

If you are using the internet for research, it is especially important to evaluate the accuracy and authority of the information you find there.

reliable information sources

REMEMBER: If you are using the internet for research, it is especially important to evaluate the accuracy and authority of the information you find there. Search engines, like Google, find web sites of all levels of quality. Keep these things in mind when deciding if a web page is reliable and appropriate for your research:

  • authority/credibility
  • accuracy/verifiability
  • bias/objectivity
  • currency/timeliness
  • scope/depth
  • intended audience/purpose

Always check with your instructor to find out if you can use free (non-Library) web sites for your assignments. And if looking for journal articles, library databases are the most efficient tool for searching.