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FYS 100 Humans, Electric Sheep, and other Entities -- Fall 2018: Getting Started

The Key to Research

Magic Cube, Cube, Puzzle, PlayMagic Cube, Hand, Puzzle, Toys

The Key to Good Research -- Patience is a Virtue!!!

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.

Keywords

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. CredoReference is a fulltext online reference service comprised of over 3 million entries from hundreds of well-regarded reference titles. Content includes dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, and subject-specific titles.

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.

Hint: Look for the word count at the bottom of each entry to find longer articles.