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Research Skills

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Mary Elling

on 29 March 2016

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Transcript of Research Skills

What is research?
Research relies on your information literacy skills.
Information literacy is your ability to
use information
All in an ethical manner

The 6 "Ws"
When you find information, it's important to evaluate it.

You are researching how a chemical process pollutes a lake.

Which is the best source?

1. A magazine article on the effects of the chemical on wildlife

2. A website by a chemical company

3. A government article about a new
method for disposing of the chemical

4. A textbook about the history of logging

Use the Online Catalog
Combine Terms and use the Advanced Search

Many databases allow you to use search operators (Boolean operators) to help you narrow your search

- finds articles that contain both terms

- finds articles that contain either or both terms


- finds article that contain one term and not the other
Why is this important?

Note: You can also narrow results by filtering by date!

subject search
title search
author search

What is the difference?

To find a book on any topic, what library resource would you use?
To find a chapter in a book - use the table of contents
Question: If you want to find the cost of operating different car models, would the library catalog be a good place to start?
How would these books appear on the shelf?
The Clocks by Agatha Christie

Song of the Lark by Willa Cather

Reached by Ally Condie

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

Question: When do you use a Table of Contents? When do you use an index? What is the difference?
Boolean Operators

Search Operators
And, or, not - these words combine search terms in an advanced search
Research Skills
ho - is the author an authority?
hat - is the information relevant?
hen - how old is the information?
here - where was the information published? Is the source reliable?(not biased and objective)
hy - what was the author's motive?
- how did the author get her or his information?
Victorian life
Oscar Wilde

Victorian life
Oscar Wilde - to broaden (find more articles)

Victorian life
Oscar Wilde

At your public library website or on your school library web page
Database search strategies
You used a magazine article titled: "Violence and prime-time TV" in a paper. You need more information for your citation. How can you locate your information?

A. Subject search
B. Advanced search
C. Title search
When do you use an encyclopedia?
Why do you narrow a topic?
Which group of topics are grouped from broadest topic to narrowest topic?

bottle-nosed dolphins, dolphins, mammals, animals

animals, mammals, dolphins, bottle-nosed dolphins

Using Databases

1. To gain overview information about a topic

2. As the first step in the information process

3. For topics related to more general knowledge
Which topic is broader?
1. The typical day of an elementary school student in Japan

2. Japan

3. Education in Japan today

When is a topic is Too Narrow for a 3 page paper? Topic:
Why is smoking banned in public places?

What question best addresses your assignment? Why is it important to be able narrow or broaden a topic? How does the number of pages impact your choice of topic?

To focus a topic use the "subject area" in a database.

You are researching Islamic art. What database would be best?

World Societies

Religions of the World

Eastern Cultures and Life

Question: Why is a database a good place to start when you need slides for a presentation?

Search strategies are important
Identify key words and concepts

example: Cultural differences are important when launching a global advertising campaign

Key words:

cultural culture global

advertising marketing brands

Choose full-text and if you choose academic journals, they are peer-reviewed!

Question: What is a good way to keep track of sources? (notecards? spreadsheets? works cited?)

published regularly
includes trade journals and scholarly journals
many only online
searchable via databases
should be evaluated for accuracy, credibility, and currency (w's)
Using Information Ethically

1. Cite all information including art work, ideas, music.

2. Respect copyright law. Obtain permission when you publish material belonging to someone else. Give them credit.

(10 percent, no more than 30 seconds of a song may be used in a presentation)

3. As soon as you write something, it belongs to you.

4. Many educational uses are covered under fair use laws. (Example: you may show a music video, movie clip, clip from a TV show)
" An information literate individual--with their strong analytical, critical thinking and problem-solving skills--can be expected to be an adaptable, capable and valuable employee, with much to contribute. "

quote from: Philadelphia University at:

What is a primary source?

1. an eyewitness account - a letter, diary, video of a participant, an interview of a survivor, etc.

* Not an article, brochure, website, etc.
Where do you start?

1. Encyclopedia (always good for background information or an overview of a topic, specialized encyclopedias are also a good starting place for research)
2. Google search
3. Search in a database

Note: if you are creating a video, an interview is a better resource
The order of your research is important!
1. Focus your topic
2. Identify the information needed and likely sources
3. Search, evaluate, record
4. Organize your information, create a rough draft
5. Revise your work, get feedback
6. Review the success of your research
Full transcript