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Understanding the assignment prompt given by your professor is the first step in the Research Process. Each prompt can be divided into different sections, see the example below.
Taking this analytical approach will help ensure both that you understand the assignment and are prepared to move to the next step in the Research Process – Topic Development.
Disclaimer - The information you find in sources such as Wikipedia and Google is not to be confused with sources you should use in your project. These sources are to help discover and develop your topic and eventually lead you to the sources found in the "search" section of the Research Process. WIkipedia and Google are great tools to get started but are NOT considered scholarly themselves.
Subject Guides – Lists Print and Electronic Sources specific to your subject.
Catalog – A full listing of all CCU books, eBooks, CD’s, DVD’s and more
Prospector – A Collection of 30 million items available to any CCU student, faculty or staff
Interlibrary Loan – A conglomerate of many libraries throughout the world
Google’s Advanced Search – try limiting by domain to .mil, .gov, or .edu sites. When searching for images, try limiting by Usage Rights.
Google Scholar - A search of online eBooks, Journals and more. If you can't find the full-text of something you need, try searching CCU or using Interlibrary loan
When looking at a source, make sure you can check-off on all these criteria
Is there and Author? Is the contact information listed for the author?
What are the author’s credentials? Is the author cited by other scholars on this subject? Where does he/she work? What else has she/he written? Is she/he referenced by other scholars in the field?
How important is it for your project to have the most recently published information?
Does the author make clearly presented, logical arguments?
Is the information detailed? Is there sufficient evidence to back up the arguments made?
Is there a bibliography exhaustive (10 or more sources) and cite authoritative sources? Does the author acknowledge other scholarship, or situate themselves in the context of other literature written on the subject?
Does the source present a particular bias?
Are there graphics or charts included? Are they relevant and presented clearly?
Is there original research presented?
What is the author’s purpose?
Is the information detailed and provide substantial evidence? Does it add support for what you are arguing with your project, or offer a valid counter-argument?
What is the target audience? Is it appropriate for your project?
Is the online source coming from a database or a website anyone can access? (If the source is from a database, then the likelihood of the source is credible is much higher.)
What is the URL of the website? (If it ends in .gov, .edu, or .org there is an increased likelihood the website is credible)
Is the website sponsored by a credible organization or institution? What is the sponsor’s stated philosophy?
Is the page professionally presented, well written, and free from spelling and grammar mistakes?
Are there links to other webpages? Are the links active? Do other websites link to this site?
Is the information copied from another sire?
When was the webpage published? Has it been updated recently?
Who is the publisher?
Are there book reviews of the book? Are the reviewers also notable scholars in this field? Do the reviews support the reliability and the validity of the book?
Is the article scholarly? Where is the article published?
Who is the author? What perspective does the author present?
What was the author’s experience and/or role with the event reported/documented?
Who is the targeted audience
(Other sources that present PRIMARY SOURCES)
Who is responsible for the source presenting the primary source? If a webpage, what does the URL indicate about the sire?
What is the source’s purpose in presenting a primary source?
What is the format of the primary source?
Is the document is a transcript, how was it originally transcribed, and is it accurate?
Citing your sources is a twofold process
Rather than grabbing each part (author, title, publication date, etc.) of a citation from an article or book individually, every library database has a Cite feature. In the form of a link or button it most often lies on the top or right hand side of a database screen. This feature generates a citation of the research you are viewing in multiple formats. Simply click the “Cite” button, select the citation format you need, and copy and paste the provided citation into your document..
NOTE that this citation creator is imperfect. and while very close, doesn’t always create a citation you will end up using, While it does get you very close to an accurate citation and makes research much easier than creating each citation from scratch, it is not always correct. Ultimately, your grade depends on proper citations, , so do review each and every one of these citations for accuracy.
Edit & Format
Each school has specific expectations for editing and formatting papers and bibliographies. Please see the following resources for further help in this area.
CUS Writing Center on the Lakewood Campus.
Also check out the library's Writing Guide