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RC 1000: RC 1000 Research Guide

About & Table of Contents

About This Guide

This guide is designed to support research assignments in RC 1000 and serves as a companion to the resources available via the University Libraries homepage - it contains videos, research tips, links, and more. All links open in a new window.

Table of Contents - Left Column

Table of Contents - Right Column

Brainstorming, Choosing a Topic, Background Research

Brainstorming, Choosing a Topic, & Background Research

Ensure success when doing research by having a clear idea of where you’re going (a research question and thesis statement) and what you’re trying to find (specific evidence and examples). Here are some tips:

Picking your topic IS research - video (3:10)

If you're still stuck on choosing a topic or developing a broad topic into something manageable for your project, get help from a professional! The consultants at the University Writing Center are waiting to assist you with any part of the writing process.

Sources: Categories & Types

Sources: Categories and Types

Good researchers consult and use a variety of sources - primary, secondary, popular, and scholarly sources. The following videos explain more about the most common types.

Primary and Secondary Sources (1:43)

Popular and Scholarly Sources (2:55)

If you're new to scholarly or academic sources, they can be challenging to read and understand at first. They're typically written by researchers for other researchers (this includes your professors and upper-level classmates here at App). Give yourself plenty of time and don't be afraid to ask for help if there's something you don't understand. That's the whole reason your here: to learn! Here are a couple of videos:

Library Research Tools

Accessing and Using AppState Library Research Tools

Once you've done some background research, using the Library to do research will be easier. APPsearch is a great tool to start with in the library. It's located on the library homepage and searches books, ebooks, streaming films, and articles (scholarly and mainstream). It might be a little daunting at first but the more you use it, the easier it gets. In addition to a topic, you’ll need a list of search terms about that topic to use APPsearch successfully. 

Watch these videos for more and if you get stuck or have questions, contact a librarian!

Developing Search Terms (2:01)

APPsearch for Articles (2:51)

Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information

Evaluate sources before committing to them, but this doesn’t have to be time consuming. Ask yourself two questions: Is the source trustworthy? And is the source suitable? Not every suitable source is trustworthy, and not every trustworthy source is suitable.

Determining Suitability
Consider the following: will this source help me answer the research questions that I am posing in my project? Will it help me learn as much as I can about my topic? Will it help me write an interesting, convincing essay for my readers? 

Determining Trustworthiness (or Credibility)
Trustworthiness of sources may not be as easy to determine, especially if you’re in a hurry, aren’t paying attention, or haven’t kept an open mind and/or acknowledged your own biases. Pay attention to things like:

  • When the source was published / last updated - look for the most recent research on your topic but it could be acceptable to use older material.
  • The degree of bias in the source - is the author making an attempt to stay objective and include various points of view?
  • Whether or not the author supports what they’re saying with evidence - if the author makes claims without citing them, find something else. (Source)

Evaluating Sources for Credibility Video (3:14)

Research Advisory Program

Research Advisory Program

The Research Advisory Program (RAP) provides one-on-one research assistance for students. Sessions are conducted in person, by phone, or online.

Belk Library Homepage

Belk Library Homepage, link opens in new window

University Writing Center

University Writing Center

Get support at any stage of the writing process from experienced professionals


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A Note about Wikipedia

As you know, Wikipedia is rarely an acceptable source to cite in a college research paper. However, Wikipedia is a wonderful source for background information about research topics, a source for ideas of specific information to search for in library databases, and a source for some of the research already done on certain topics.  

Citing Sources

Citing Sources

It can be tedious but it's something every college student has to do sooner or later. Fortunately, there are lots of resources available to help!

RC 1000 Resources

RC 1000 Resources

Library Databases

Tired of APPsearch? Try these other library resources.


Library Links

Library Video Tutorials

Library Video Tutorials

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Video tutorials on how to use APPsearch, library databases, evaluate sources, and more!