Presentation on theme: "How to research for your essay Rachel Haworth, SMLC Rachel Myers, Library."— Presentation transcript:
How to research for your essay Rachel Haworth, SMLC Rachel Myers, Library
University Library Aims Find the most efficient ways to identify relevant and useful material for essay topics: Frame your ‘research questions’ on the basis of your essay title Find suitable websites for your topic Search for relevant materials using library catalogue Search for journal articles using bibliographic databases
University Library TYPES OF ESSAY QUESTION 1.Description [Define, describe, outline, explain, state, summarise, present] 2.Discussion [Analyse, examine, explore, comment, illustrate, account for, consider] 3.Evaluation [Evaluate, justify, comment on, to what extent] 4.Comparison [Compare, contrast, differentiate, distinguish] ** Essay questions often combine two of these tasks**
University Library Glossing the question Example: To what extent was nationalist discourse during the First World War a product of pre-existing French political and/or cultural ideas? Illustrate your answer with examples taken from nationalist texts and/or images. Gloss (verb): to comment upon, explain, interpret
University Library Rephrasing the question To what extent was nationalist discourse during the First World War a product of pre- existing French political and/or cultural ideas? Did WW1 nationalist discourse come from pre-existing ideas? Or not? Essays often have a for/against structure – i.e. yes it did come from pre-existing ideas [= I agree with the statement]…BUT it changed in WW1[ = I disagree with the statement]
University Library Now have a look at your essay title (in pairs…) 1.What kind of question is it? (Description, Discussion, Evaluation, Comparison) 2.Is it a quotation followed by ‘discuss’? Gloss the quotation, and think about a possible answer based on agreeing/disagreeing with the statement. 3.Rephrase your question. Is it asking for a for/against (agree/disagree) structure?
University Library Starting your research Where do we look for sources when researching an essay question? 1.The web 2.Reading lists 3.Other bibliographies 4.Electronic databases
University Library Using the web What are the pros and cons of using the web (with search engines such as Google) to do research for your essay?
University Library Web searches Try Googling your essay topic. Approximately how many of the hits look useful? Is this an efficient way of conducting research for your essay? Way of filtering/refining your searches: http://scholar.google.co.uk/
University Library Evaluating websites. Questions to ask: 1.Is it a personal webpage? Is it from a reliable source, such as an educational site (.edu or.ac.uk) Why has it been written? 2.Who wrote the page? Are they an expert? What are their qualifications/credentials? 3.Is the page dated? Is the information up-to- date? 4.Is it scholarly – i.e. are there footnotes or links to other credible sources?
University Library Wikipedia What are the pros and cons of this type of source for doing research for an essay at university level?
University Library Using bibliographies How do you know what to read? Think about using.. Index Introductions of edited volumes Footnotes Bibliographies Electronic databases …to build up/refine your bibliographies
University Library Finally….quoting and plagiarism Take detailed notes, including page numbers, for referencing in your essays Be careful about plagiarism. This is NEVER acceptable. Beware of being too reliant on a limited number of sources, even if you are not directly plagiarising.