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RESEARCHING & EVALUATING Summer 2008 Melanie Wilson Academic Success Center MSC 207.

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Presentation on theme: "RESEARCHING & EVALUATING Summer 2008 Melanie Wilson Academic Success Center MSC 207."— Presentation transcript:

1 RESEARCHING & EVALUATING Summer 2008 Melanie Wilson Academic Success Center MSC 207

2 Introduction  Researching is a key component of academic success.  Understanding how to research, find, and evaluate information will help you in all of your classes and in life!  Objectives:  In this presentation, I will: Identify different types of resources Identify where to search Identify how to evaluate information

3 Truths about Researching  Researching is a multi-step process  Researching takes times  The SUCCESS of a research paper is based on the quality of the information and sources you use.  It is nearly impossible to write a good paper with weak sources.  If you use strong resources – you’ll have a strong end product.

4 Types of Resources  Primary Sources  First hand materials & documents Examples: photographs, first hand newspaper articles, letters, diaries, speeches  Where can I find primary documents?  Example: Library of Congress  Secondary Sources  Explain and comment on first hand sources Examples: books, articles, editorials, reviews

5 Types of Resources  Peer-reviewed journals  Articles from a peer-reviewed journal are reviewed by a panel of experts before they are published for quality assurance.  Peer-reviewed articles can be found in research databases, such as Academic Search Complete.  Government documents  The government publishes a wealth of information, including legislation & statistics– most of which can be found online

6 Where to look for good info?  Government websites:  U.S. Department of Heath & Human Services U.S. Department of Heath & Human Services  Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA  Newspapers  Lexis-Nexis Academic Lexis-Nexis Academic  Research Papers  Academic Search Complete Academic Search Complete

7 Searching the Net  The internet contains a wealth of information  Benefits:  Easy to use  Quickly updated & current  Hub of multi-media  Weaknesses:  Quality control  Always changing

8 Internet Search Tools  If you must use the internet for research, these tools will help lead you to more reliable sources  Google Scholar Google Scholar Benefit: connects directly to Ohiolink  Google News Google News  Google Uncle Sam (Government Documents) Google Uncle Sam  Google Books Google Books  Wikipedia Wikipedia

9 Evaluating Resources The most important part of research, especially on the web, is evaluation. As a researcher, you need to be able to distinguish the good from the bad.  Scope  What area does the site cover? Does it go into an appropriate amount of depth?  Currency  Is the site recent? Does it have a date listed?  Authority  Who is the author or institution publishing the site? What are their credentials? Do they have expertise in the area?  Accuracy  Does the information have an obvious bias? Does the information contain citations?  Quality  Are there errors or spelling mistakes on the site? Is it well written? Is it edited or peer- reviewed?

10 Quantity Make sure you have enough resources to: support your argument Include a variety of viewpoints and material Diversity Include a variety of sources Primary sources: contemporary accounts of an event and original documents Examples: letters, diaries, audio-recordings, newspaper articles Secondary sources: retrospective sources based on primary resources; include scholarly & scientific analysis Examples: books, articles, editorials, reviews, scientific studies Date of Publication For currents events research use current sources that reflect current attitudes For historical research use a variety of resources from different time periods Building Good Research Source: l

11 Web Resource Caution  When using the internet --- BE CRITICAL!  Find out who is behind a site?  What is their motive?  Who is sponsoring it?  Who published the material?  An expert, a professor with a PhD, a professional?

12 More questions to ask… What is the tone? Who is the intended audience? What is the purpose of the publication? What assumptions does the author make? What are the bases of the author’s conclusions? Does the author agree or disagree with other authors of the subject? Does the content agree with what you know or have learned about the issue? To verify this information look over the source’s documentation & citations. Source: l

13 Evaluating Websites  Are these websites… good or bad sources?     

14 5 Tips for Research Success 1. Start early 2. Choose a strong topic 3. Choose an appropriate database for your topic 1. Break you topic into main ideas when searching 4. Evaluate potential sources 5. Cite any information that you use!

15 Links to Research Tools Tutorials of Researching:  Online Tutorials:  College Research: Transitioning to College: Resources & Databases for Research:  Online Reference Shelf:  Databases Alphabetical:  Subject Guides: Resources for Evaluating:  KSU library Evaluation Sheet & Criteria: Resources for Citing:  REFWORKS:  Academic Success Center:  Citing Resources: Materials from today’s lecture are available at:

16 GOOD LUCK!  Remember to start early and take advantage of the library.  FIND, EVALUATE, USE, CITE If you have any questions e-mail me at

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