Presentation on theme: "The University Writing Center Presents: Conducting Research."— Presentation transcript:
The University Writing Center Presents: Conducting Research
Overview “Where do I begin?” Research Questions and Thesis Statements Sources Identify and Evaluate Primary vs. Secondary Print vs. Online Additional Resources
“Where do I begin?” Start early and give yourself enough time to review your sources carefully. Set a schedule for yourself. Start with a working thesis or research question to guide your search. It may change! Keyword Selection
Research Question Appropriate: “Why does ‘road rage’ occur and how can it be prevented?” An inappropriate question makes a false assumption or has bias: “Why are women bad drivers?”
Thesis Statements Enumerative: Road rage occurs when a variety of stress factors reach a breaking point resulting in aggression, and can usually be prevented by staying alert, obeying traffic laws, and being a considerate driver. Umbrella: Road rage occurs when a number of stress factors result in aggression on the part of the driver, but the steps one can take to prevent it are straightforward and simple.
Keywords Choose keywords that are as specific as possible Refine your search using the words which fit your criteria Know Boolean Operators Check the online catalog of your library to help find the most precise search terms Boolean Operators AND OR NEAR NOT
Search Engines Google, Yahoo, other web engines Google Scholar Library online catalog Database Searches
Primary and Secondary Sources In the humanities, primary sources are the texts you are writing about. In the sciences, you will often work with experimental results or data discovered by others. Secondary sources are reviews, critiques, observations, and opinions of primary sources.
Types of Sources Print sources, such as books and journal articles. Online sources, such as websites. Video and audio recordings Live performances Interviews *Image from: sitemaker.umich.edu/atc042706
“Advantages and Benefits of Print Sources” Print Sources: Extensive publication process Clearly stated authors and affiliations Source information tends to be clearly marked (works cited) Tends to be less biased Author qualifications are almost always necessary to get published Publication information is always clearly printed on the document
Evaluating Online Sources Typically, “.org,” “.edu,” and “.gov” sites are credible and authoritative. “.org” should be copyrighted by organizations “.edu” can be used for any school “.gov” can be used for political parties
Evaluating Sources Apply the CRAAP test*: C urrency: When was the source created? R elevance: Does it support your paper topic? A uthority: Who created the source? A ccuracy: How reliable is the information? P urpose: Why was the source created? *From: http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/evalsites.html
Evaluating Sources Let’s try it out on the journal Shakespeare Studies: Currency : Contains articles from 1965-present Relevance : Contains critical articles on Shakespeare’s plays and poems, but little biographical information Authority : Published by Fairleigh Dickson University Press Accuracy : All articles are peer-reviewed Purpose : Provides new insights into the works of Shakespeare
“What about Wikipedia?” Wikipedia fits the bill in all areas except for one: Authority. Who is writing the material? Anyone and everyone. Wikipedia entries are constantly changed and updated the more people use the site.