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Information Literacy: Research: Step 2

This guide will help students to understand what information is useful for their research papers, as well as provide a step-by-step guide for the use of that information.

Ready, Set, Go!

Get Set!

  •  The topic will need to be narrowed for the assignment. 
  •  Keep in mind, a very specific subject or idea may also be too limiting – for example, if the topic focuses closely on one individual such as Beck or a specific baseball team, there may not be as much information as there might be on rock musicians or baseball teams in general.
  •  Make your point.  A thesis statement is the focal point for the research, and summarizes the point that the speaker or writer wishes to make. A strong thesis statement is one that supports one main idea, has a clear standpoint, and invites discussion.

Beginning the Research

So, now you are ready for the research step of this process. Using the CTR Library's databases helps to ensure that you have reliable, credible sources for your paper. Using legitimate, verifiable information is important to developing students as critical thinkers; it shows that you are concerned with presenting correct information and are knowledgeable about your subject.

According to Information Literacy: Lifelong Learning and Digital Citizenship in the 21st Century, a person is more likely to believe that information is credible if it is consistent with the beliefs they had before beginning research. But what if your belief was misinformed, or wrong? The idea that information is credible because it confirms your assumptions or preconceived notions is not unusual, but it is not at all reliable. Researching a topic helps the student to read unbiased information and be presented with new perspectives on the subject.

In Step 1 we talked about looking for a broad topic (homelessness) and narrowing it down to a specific, focused topic (homeless veterans, homelessness and children) and doing some pre-searching.  Pre-searching also helps to know when we've picked a subject that there may not be enough information on for a paper, or when we need to rephrase our search terms. 

Keep in mind when you are searching that there can be many ways to say the same thing, and that words often have more than one meaning. For example, I can use the word "spirits" to describe a gathering of ghosts, or to describe a liquor beverage. If you do not find information at first, try a different search term and see if that helps.  

Image result for ghosts

**As you search, when you find articles that you think are suitable, be sure to SAVE THEM!!!! Save to a flash drive, Google Drive, email them to yourself, save to your personal desktop or whatever other method you like. It is SUPER frustrating to locate a perfect article, but then be unable to find it again later. Saving it will help you be able to quote and cite your information later.**

So what does the Library have?

Depending on the amount of time you have and the subject of your research, you may want to search the library's catalog for books on the topic. 

The library offers online databases including encyclopedic information, databases of periodicals, journals, statistics, videos and more.

Depending on your issue, you may also find newspaper articles in the newspapers available in the library. 

There may also be relevant DVD's on a subject or topic.