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Finding Books

Finding Articles

Finding Websites

Evaluating Sources

Citing Sources

Research Tips


Six Top Tips For Successful Research Strategy

1. Know your topic--check spelling, definition
2. Identify main concepts--keywords, subjects
3. Create search strategy--find synonyms, eliminate extra words, combine keywords with "and"
4.Choose the appropriate resources
5. Revamp your strategy after you see what kind of results your getting.
6. The Crucial Difference Between Internet Searching using a search engine and using a subscription database of published articles. A web search will only reach 13%
of the available electronic information. To reach the more scholarly, reliable 87% you need to use commercial databases such as EBSCOhost.

Key Points to Remember:
· Choose a topic that you are interested in.
· It is reassuring to know that almost everyone will have to change and fine tune their topic during the research process.
· Use library tools such as CQ Researcher and Encyclopedias to gain a foundation of knowledge and a baseline of understanding of the key issues for your possible topic. After all, once you attain an overview of aspects of a topic you might find you are interested in an area you previously had no knowledge of.

The Challenge of Picking a Topic

It usually makes sense to start with a broad or more general topic. It is human nature to be discouraged if you start with too narrow a topic.

  • Examples of Topics Broad to Narrow
    Smoking in America
    Smoking by Age
    Smoking By Gender
    Smoking Health Risk
    Types of Cancer Smoking Causes
    Rights of Smokers vs. Rights of Smokers
    Smoking Historically
    Role of the Government

But if you find way too many articles or books don’t feel overwhelmed. It is easy to narrow or broaden your search by using a keyword search or using a subject search.

Keyword searching involves using Boolean connectors such as

For wonderful charts and visuals on boolean searching look at this Library of Congress site.

Evaluating Your Research Results

Focus on learning the process of writing and researching instead of only the final product.
See OCC Plagiarism Brochure


Developed by Torris Andersen, Jr. Associate Professor