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:
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).
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.
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
Click here to access all of App State's online databases (link opens in new window). Note the different categories (Type, Name, and Subject).
Click the subject closest to your major to reveal a list of the best databases for your research.
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
Option 2: Finding trade or scholarly journals in your field and searching within them.
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.
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:
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:
All links open in a new window
Finding challenges or issues specific to certain jobs or fields can be tricky. Here are some tips: