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RC 2001 (new): RC 2001 Research Guide

Tutorials, tips, and resources for RC 2001 assignments

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, also known as, sources). Here are some tips:

 

 

  • Brainstorm by freewriting on your topic, ask yourself what you already know and what you want to find out
  • Forget about the assignment requirements for a minute and do background research to get context on the topic
  • Read, read, and read some more - allow time to immerse yourself in the topic
  • Take copious notes - highlight ideas to research further or things you don't understand, jot down questions, record potential evidence to prove a point

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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. Keep in mind that Google searches the open web and the library's various tools search the deep web. To learn more about what the deep web is and why it matters, watch this short video (link opens in new window).

Google

You've likely used Google at some point - many students also use it as a starting point for research. Here are some tips and strategies on how to get the most out of Google.

  • Google Advanced Search - Narrow down search results for complex searches by using the Advanced Search page.
  • Refine Google Searches - You can use symbols or words in your search to make your search results more precise.

Belk Library

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: Finding trade or scholarly journals in your field and searching within them.

  1. Use the Occupational Outlook Handbook or SCImago Journal & Country Rank websites to find journals in your field. Here are directions on how to do that (link opens in new window).
  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).

View the App State Library's full offering of video tutorials.

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 video series that offers great strategies for verifying information you find on the open web.

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

Belk Library Homepage

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First Year Experience Librarian

Mark Coltrain's picture
Mark Coltrain
Contact:
Belk Library and Information Commons, 140B
coltrainjm@appstate.edu
Online Office: https://appstate.zoom.us/my/coltrain
828-262-2085

RC 2001 Resources

RC 2001 Resources

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Career Challenges

Career Challenges/Issues

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"