4.6: Library Research- It's a Process
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About the Information Search Process
The ISP Model and You
- Understanding instructor expectations
- Strategies: Many instructors will use terms such as scholarly, popular, peer-reviewed, refereed, primary, secondary, authoritative, etc., to describe the types of sources they expect you to use in assignments. To learn what these mean, see UT Arlington Library’s How to Find and Evaluate Sources (http://library.uta.edu/howTo/evaluateSources.pdf).
- Listen carefully and take notes when the instructor assigns the paper or project and do not be afraid to ask questions. For tips, see University of North Carolina’s Understanding Assignments (writingcenter.unc. edu/handouts/understanding-assignments).
- Worrying about your ability to complete the assignment on time
- Strategies: Use goal-setting processes learned in this class to create a timeline for completion of the assignment. For an online tool, see University of Minnesota’s Assignment Calculator (www.lib.umn.edu/ apps/ac).
- Strategies: Begin by brainstorming ideas that are relevant to the assignment, but also reflect your personal interests. You may also look to academic encyclopedias, magazines, and journals within the subject area, current events publications, and class discussions for potential ideas.
- For help selecting a general topic, see Duke University Libraries’ Choosing a Topic (library.duke.edu/services/ins...guide/choosing. html) or California State University Long Beach Library’s Paper Topics (csulb.libguides.com/papertopics).
- Looking for general information about a topic
- Strategies: When beginning research on an unfamiliar topic, consult sources that provide background information like academic encyclopedias, textbooks, and general Web sites. Although you may not use these sources in the final paper or project, they often provide the information necessary to progress to the next stage of your assignment.
- Library databases that contain general information (NetID and password required) can be found at www.libguides.uta.edu/az.php and include databases such as:
- CQ Researcher
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
- UT Arlington’s Library Catalog
- Points of View Reference Center
- Locating appropriate source types
- Strategies: The topic and type of information needed determines the type of source (book, magazine article, newspaper article, Web site, journal article, etc.) that is best. To learn more about the information cycle as it relates to type of information needed, see UT Arlington Library’s How to Find and Evaluate Sources (library.uta.edu/howTo/ evaluateSources.pdf).
- Strategies: After gathering background information about a topic, apply what you have learned to the development of a thesis. The thesis will act as the framework for your paper. For information about developing a thesis, see Dartmouth Writing Program’s Developing Your Thesis (writing- speech.dartmouth.edu/learning/materials/materials-first-year-writers/ developing-your-thesis).
- Developing a search strategy
- Strategies: Have a plan of action before you begin your thesis-specific research. You may use some of the same sources found when gathering your background information.
- Brainstorm relevant keywords and combine these terms to retrieve relevant and specific information.
- Specify the type of sources (scholarly, peer-reviewed, primary, etc.) you require. For help, see Tisch Library’s Database Search Strategy Worksheet (researchguides.library.tufts.edu/content. php?pid=68058&isd=502985).
- Select database(s) or search engine(s) you will use to find your sources. For subject-specific guides to research, see UT Arlington Library’s Subject and Course Guides (http://libguides.uta.edu).
- Use research notes to track where you have searched for information and what you have selected for potential use in your assignment. For tips about keeping track of your research, see Princeton University’s Working Habits that Work (www.princeton.edu/pr/ pub/integrity/pages/habits/).
- Evaluating sources
- Strategies: Evaluate each source to determine if it meets the requirements of the assignment and select sources that are written by experts and published (either in print or online) by reputable organizations or individuals. For information about evaluating sources, see UT Arlington Library’s How to Find and Evaluate Sources (http://library.uta.edu/ howTo/evaluateSources.pdf).
- Incorporating sources into your assignment
- Strategies: Once you have found your sources, incorporate them into your assignment in a way that both supports your thesis and observes the rules of academic integrity. For information about incorporating sources, see Western Oregon University’s Incorporating Sources into Your Research Paper (www.wou.edu/provost/library/clip/tutori- als/incorp_sources.htm).
- Citing your sources
- Strategies: To make citing sources easier, you may use online citation generators like Son of Citation Machine (Warlick &The Landmark Project 2000–2010) (http://citationmachine.net/) or use citation genera- tors built into some of the library’s databases. Always check your citations against appropriate style manuals, copies of which can be found in the Library’s reference area. For helpful tips about many citation styles, see UT Arlington Library’s Citation How-Tos (library.uta.edu/how-to).
- Recognize that frustration and uncertainty are part of the process.
- Build a timeline with short-term S.M.A.R.T. goals.
- Reevaluate your progress and repeat steps if necessary, but do not completely eliminate any.
- Steps take time. Plan accordingly.
- Take advantage of outside resources to help get you through the uncertainty.
- Consult “Chapter 10: Campus Resources” and review all of the resources and services offered by UT Arlington Libraries. What are the three library resources that you feel will help you the most? Evaluate the benefit of each resource and discuss with a classmate.
- What challenges do you face when citing sources? Think of at least three strategies that would help you overcome these challenges.
- Why is it important to cite the sources you use in your assignments?
- Examine the relationship between the information Search Process and Bloom’s taxonomy. How does the required task at each stage of the ISP correlate with the types of thinking required in Bloom’s Taxonomy?
- How can the active reading strategies you have learned be applied to evaluating sources for your assignments?
Five-day Study plan Worksheet
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