Getting started with research

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Information about Getting started with research

Published on March 3, 2014

Author: rayapapaya


STARTING ON OUR RESEARCH PROJECT What you really need to know to get started.

 1. Research is a PROCESS, like a journey. Keep your end goal in mind and keep moving towards it.  2. Every good journey requires planning.  3. There’s no shame in asking for directions when you get lost.

TODAY, WE’LL BE COVERING…  How to find and evaluate sources.  An overview of next steps in the research process so you know what to expect.



WHAT KINDS OF SOURCES AM I LOOKING FOR? How are databases different from articles and encyclopedia entries that you might find on the internet?

WHAT KINDS OF SOURCES AM I LOOKING FOR? Especially with web content, scrutinize and evaluate your sources thoroughly to make sure you are getting high quality, reliable info.


LIBRARY.HAWKEN.EDU I’m full of sources! The databases gateway organizes all the databases that you have access to in one spot. TIP: Keep your Hawken library card handy!

CLEVNET CATALOG (HTTP://HAWKEN.BIBLIOCOMMONS.COM/) Search for books from the entire CLEVNET consortium, and place holds using your card. TIP: Keep your Hawken library card handy!

LOCATING BOOKS ON THE SHELF  The Cleveland Public Library uses the LC (Library of Congress) system to classify and shelve books.  Once you understand how it works, you can find things on the shelf, and also locate similar materials which will be shelved nearby.  LESS specific (more general) materials are toward the LEFT, and they get more specific as you move to the right.

An LC call number has three (okay, sometimes four) parts. DS 35.53 .O96 Subject Division Main Code Subject Sub(21 Letters) Division Code (optional) Cutter Number (Coded representation of Subject Area (Sorted numerically inthe author) A: General Works B: Philosophy, Psychology, Religion Ascending C: Auxiliary Sciences of History D: World History and Histories of Africa, Asia, Europe, etc. E: History of the Americas F: History of the Americas G: Geography, Anthropology, Recreation H: Social Sciences J: Political Science K: Law L: Education M: Music N: Fine Arts P: Language and Literature Q: Science R: Medicine S: Agriculture T: Technology U: Military Science V: Naval Science Z: Bibliography, Library Science, Information Resources order) WHAT LC CALL NUMBERS MEAN


OKAY, I FOUND SOME SOURCES. NOW WHAT?  You need to evaluate them to ensure high quality of scholarship, accuracy, usefulness for your research, and to detect any biases.

     Author Authority Who created the item? What is his or her affiliation? What is his or her relationship to the information contained in the source? Audience and Purpose Who is the intended audience? Why was the item created? Accuracy and Completeness Is the evidence reliable and up to date? Are the important points covered? How does the source compare to other similar sources? What may have been left out? Footnotes and Documentation Are the author's sources in secondary and reference literature clearly identified with complete citations to allow you to find the original source yourself? Perspective and Bias How do the author's bias and perspective inform the arguments and evidence presented? SECONDARY SOURCE EVALUATION Presnell, Jenny L. The Information-Literate Historian . New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

             T = Timeliness: The information is up to date. A = Authority: Author is qualified and has listed credentials. C = Coverage: Topic is deeply covered and cited. O = Objectivity: Document based on fact and not opinion. R = Reliability: Can the information be backed by other sources? E = Evidence: Do they explain and cite their evidence? A = Authority: Who wrote the article? D = Date: When was the website last updated? S = See if the author(s) have authority. M = Many sites give outdated information. A = A specific audience may be targeted. R = Reliability helps determine accuracy. T = Try to determine if information is unbiased. SOME EVALUATION ACRONYMS Lincoln, Margaret. "Information Evaluation & Online Coursework." Knowledge Quest Jan.-Feb. 2010: 28-31. Print.

NEXT STEP: SET UP NOODLETOOLS • Create your bibliography with templates based on your source. • Annotate each source entry and generate your Annotated Bibliography. • Virtual notecards can link directly to your sources for easy citations. • You can drag and drop your notecards into piles, or into an outline, and keep track of tasks and deadlines associated with your research.

WHAT COMES NEXT?  You will find and evaluate your sources.  We will ask you to use the catalog to make a list of sources that you will look for when we visit CPL.  You will create citations using NoodleTools in Chicago style, and do an annotated bibliography.  You will take notes on your sources on information that is helpful and relevant to your project.

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