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Information Literacy, Level One: Where to begin

This guide is designed to support the Information Literacy unit within ENG 111, but also provide a first-level introduction to research skills for any Meredith College student.

Welcome!

This Research Guide is your tutorial for ENG 111. In this tutorial you will learn foundational research skills such as how to choose a good topic and evaluate the sources you find.

The research strategies you learn in this course can be applied to your other Meredith courses and in your career. These research skills will keep you going strong as a student and beyond!

Learning guide

Here are the questions that you should be able to answer after completing the Information Literacy unit.  Use this as a guide as you review the tutorial.

  1. How do I choose a research topic that's not too broad or narrow?
  2. How can I break down my topic into the best keywords to search?
  3. Why should I use scholarly encyclopedias to start my research?
  4. What are the different types of library sources and how is each useful?
  5. How are popular magazine and scholarly journal articles different?
  6. How do I use OneSearch and narrow my results?
  7. What should I look for to determine if a particular source is reliable and useful?
  8. What is the ABC Test and how can it help me evaluate the quality of sources?

The research process

Research is a lot like an investigation.  You need to ask questions about the topic you're interested in, and then find sources to help you answer those questions and gain a better understanding of the topic.  Be open-minded about the information you find, so that you let the research guide you, even if that means revising your topic.

Here are some steps to help you get you started with your research:

1. Analyze the assignment so you know what you are expected to accomplish.

  • Is it to write a summary, analyze a topic, or take a persuasive stand on an issue?

2. Identify a preliminary research topic that you would like to explore, including the questions you want to answer.

3. Search for basic information about your topic.

  • For background information on a topic, search the library's reference sources
  • As you read encyclopedia articles, write down concepts that can become keywords in your search

4. Write a research question or a thesis.

  • A research question should not be too broad or narrow in scope
    • Too broad: Are violent video games bad?
    • Too narrow: Does exposure to violent video games impact brain development of boys ages 7-10 in rural townships?
    • Better in scope: What effect does playing violent video games have on children and adolescents?
  • A thesis statement is the central idea of your paper

5. Find sources to help you address your research question or thesis

  • Search for books, magazine articles, and newspaper articles in OneSearch
  • Use the keywords from your research question and encyclopedia articles

6. Incorporate the information you have found into your paper.

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