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FYS100T -- Science in Pop Culture -- Fall 2017: Getting Started

Research Process video

Basic Research Steps

  • Select an interesting and doable topic.
  • Identify each component of your topic.
  • Select appropriate terms to describe the components and use truncation as appropriate.
  • Determine the correct use of Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).
  • Select fields to search if appropriate (author, title, subject).
  • Limit your results as necessary (date, scholarly vs. popular, etc.).
  • Evaluate your results and rethink your strategy as necessary.

Background Information & Overviews

When you begin a research project, it is helpful to do some background reading to get some basic information on your topic, e.g., keywords, important names, dates, etc.

Subject-specific reference materials can provide beginning researchers with the following:

  • an overview of a topic and how it fits into the broader picture,
  • the various aspects of a topic to help broaden or narrow the area of research,
  • the vocabulary (a.k.a. keywords) associated with the topic to use at the computer,
  • the names of important people or organizations associated with the topic,
  • a bibliography to lead to other relevant items on the topic, including major studies, books, articles and researchers.

CQ Researcher

Includes weekly reports that focus on a specific topic that is perceived as being either newsworthy or an issue of broad interest in the public policy sphere. Coverage 1991-present
 
Collection of fulltext online reference materials. Content includes dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, and subject-specific titles from art to accountancy, science to Shakespeare, and law to literature. Coverage varies by title. Off campus login required
 
Hint: Look for the word count at the bottom of each entry to find longer articles.

Keywords