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ENC 1101 (Ruiz): Research Tips

A guide to help students complete library research in Professor Ruiz's Freshman Composition I class at the Osceola Campus.

Evaluating Sources for Credibility

Before using the sources you find online, be sure to evaluate each source for credibility. Not all sources found through Google searching are credible enough to be used in an academic setting. Looking at each source through the CRAAP lens can help you determine how sound your sources are.

Types of Sources

Not all articles are created equal - different kinds of articles in the library databases contain different kinds of information. Popular sources tend to be the least credible, but are often the only source to find articles on less scholarly topics. Consider your assignment and topic to decide which source is appropriate for you.

Keyword Worksheet

How to Choose Your Keywords

Choosing Your Keywords

An effective search depends on a good choice of keywords (i.e. you cannot type a question into the database). How do you pull out keywords from your research question or statement to use in your database search?

  1. Think about your topic. Write it down in the form of a research question or statement.
  2. Circle the most important ideas or concepts in your question or statement. These become your keywords.
  3. Think of some synonyms or related terms that you can use for your keywords. These new keywords will come in handy when you are searching.
  4. Connect your keywords together using the word AND. By adding the word AND, you are telling the database that you want all of these keywords to show up in your search results.
    1. Try changing your search by substituting some of your related terms or synonyms with other keywords in your search.

Here's an example:

What are the effects of media violence on teenagers?

Synonyms:

Effects OR Consequences

Media OR Television

Violence OR Aggression OR Destructive Behavior

Teenagers OR Adolescents

 

Possible Search strategies:

Media AND Violence AND Teenagers 

Television AND Aggression AND Adolescents

Television AND Violence AND Teenagers AND Effects

Media AND Destructive Behavior AND Adolescents AND Consequences