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RC 2001 (new): RC 2001 Research Guide

Tutorials, tips, and resources for RC 2001 assignments

About & Table of Contents

About This Guide

This guide is designed to support research assignments in RC 2001. It contains tutorials, handouts, how to get help from librarians, and more to support your journey to a completed assignment and, hopefully, a good grade. The left column is comprised of support resources. The main column contains instruction about each phase of the research process.

Table of Contents - Main Column

Table of Contents - Right Column

Belk Library Homepage

Belk Library Homepage, link opens in new window

Librarians By Academic Department

Librarians by Academic Department

Each academic department at Appalachian State University has an assigned library faculty member who is your first point of contact for your research and technology needs. Your librarian is a resource for subject specific research support, University Libraries’ digital and print collections, and so much more.

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.

RC 2001 Resources

RC 2001 Resources

All links open in a new window


Library Career Resources

Library Searching Resources

Quick Links

Library Quick Links

Getting Started

Getting Started

The best way to ensure success when doing research is to have a clear idea of where you’re going (a research question and/or thesis statement) and what you’re trying to find (specific evidence and examples that answer your question or support your thesis). Here are some tips:


  • Reflect and brainstorm on your major/career goals and perform background research for context. Consider the following questions:

    • Why are you pursuing your major/career? 

    • What do you already know about the job, work environment, etc?

    • Are there any challenges you’re aware of in your field? 

    • What questions or uncertainties do you have?

    • List important people, organizations, trends, innovations, research, etc. and why they would matter to you.

  • Take copious notes, highlight ideas to research further or things you don't understand, jot down questions, record potential evidence to prove a point


Image Source

Accessing and Using the Best Research Tools

Accessing and Using the Best Research Tools

Once you've done some background research, using the Internet and the Library to do research will be easier. You've likely used Google at some point - many students also use it as a starting point for research. Google Scholar is the academic side of Google. Here is link to the coverage of Google Scholar. Below are some links to tips and strategies on how to get the most out of Google Scholar. 

*If you access Google Scholar from library homepage, you will be able to see whether or not you have access to the research with the note: Find@ASU.








The library’s online research tools aren’t always intuitive but, the more you use them, the easier they get. You’ll need a strong list of search terms or keywords to use them successfully, which you’ll generate if you spend enough time doing background research. 

In RC 2001, you'll want to move past APPsearch and into our subject-specific databases. Remember, databases are just collections of research - the library provides access to many, some are multidisciplinary and some are specific to certain fields. And all are accessible 24/7 from off-campus as long as you know your App State username and password. Search interfaces may vary from database to database but they all have similar features that you can leverage to get exactly what you want. The bottom line: If you can use APPsearch, you can use any of our databases.

Where do you go from here?

Option 1: General research topic searching in subject-specific databases

  1. Click here to access all of App State's online databases (link opens in new window). Note the different categories (Type, Name, and Subject).

  2. Click the subject closest to your major to reveal a list of the best databases for your research.

  3. Choose a database and start searching. 

Note: some databases offer search result "filters" or "limiters."

These may include filtering results by "Source Type." 

Of particular use to you are

  • Academic/Scholarly
  • Peer-Reviewed
  • Trade Journals/Publications

Option 2: Resources to find trade or scholarly journals in your field and searching within them:

  1. Use the handouts (below) to navigate the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Google Scholar, OR SCImago Journal & Country Rank in order to find scholarly publications in your field.
  2. Search the titles of those journals in APPsearch and, provided we have access to the journal, search within it for articles about your research topic. Or you can browse current and past issues for ideas. Here are directions on how to do that (link opens in new window).

Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information

Now that you’ve started finding sources, you’ll need to evaluate them before committing to them, but this doesn’t have to be time consuming. Just ask yourself two questions: Is this source trustworthy? And is this source suitable? Not every suitable source is trustworthy, and not every trustworthy source is suitable.

Determining Suitability
Your task as a researcher is to determine the appropriateness of the information your source contains for your particular research project. 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 doing research on the open web, aren’t paying attention, or haven’t checked your own biases at the door. Pay attention to things like:

  • When the source was published or last updated - look for the most recent research on your topic but newer isn’t always better. Depending on the topic, it’s fine to consult older material.
  • The degree of bias in the source - is the author making an attempt to stay objective and include various points of view or is s/he/they pushing a point of view for other reasons?
  • Whether or not the author supports what they’re saying with evidence - if the author is making lots of claims without citing them, consider looking for something else. Source

Here is a short video courtesy of NCSU that offers general context on evaluation of information:

Career Challenges

Challenges or Issues in your Field

If your assignment calls for it (not all do), finding challenges or issues specific to certain jobs or fields can be tricky. Here are some tips:

  • Explore professional organization websites (look for these in the Occupational Outlook Handbook)
  • Search APPsearch or subject-specific databases and limit your results to sources types, "Trade Publications" or "Academic Journals"
  • Sometimes challenges are specific to you - for example, if you work better alone, then a team-based job environment might not be your best option
  • Additionally, here are some common challenges across careers:
    • Stress/burnout
    • Gender inequality
    • Employee shortages (nurses and teachers are common ones)
    • Amount of student loan debt for certain degrees (vs. number of jobs with good pay)
    • Artificial intelligence replacing humans
    • Lack of jobs where you live / challenges of having to relocate
    • Cost of living in a particular place vs. salary
    • Work/life balance

Example of a Scholarly Article about Career Challenges

Here's an example of the type of article you'll want to find in the library databases about your discipline or profession.

"Leaving the teaching profession: The role of teacher stress and educational accountability policies on turnover intent"