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The Key to Research
The Key to Good Research -- Patience is a Virtue!!!
Background Information & Overviews
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.
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.
Background on the Internet
Centre for Intercultural Learning
A Canadian government website providing overviews of cultures by country.
CIA World Factbook
"The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities"
Culture Crossing Guide
An evolving database of cross-cultural information about every country in the world
Provides information on economy, history, government, statistics, business etiquette and culture,
World Business Culture
The World Business Culture site concentrates mainly on delivering quality information on international business etiquette with reference to specific country culture such as American culture or business management in China.
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.