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LS 102 Course Materials

Introduction to Information Research

Research Process

Before you go to the library:

STEP 1: Think

  • Task definition: What does your professor require you to do?
  • Brainstorming: think of:
    • Topic
    • A thesis
    • Some search terms
    • Resources you need

Once you get there:

STEP 2: Exploratory Research

  • Get an overview of your topic, an understanding of it.
  • Where?
    • Online catalog and library shelves (browsing)
    • General reference works written by experts
    • Discussion with a knowledgeable person

STEP 3: Focus your topic

  • Choose an aspect that interests you.
    • Think of a question about your topic that your paper can answer.
    • Consult specialized reference works.
    • Evaluate, refocus topic, revise thesis

STEP 4: Locate information

  • Use precise keywords, Boolean operators, and truncation in your searching.
  • Where?
    • Online indexes for periodical articles
    • Online catalogs for books
    • Web pages
  • Evaluate
    • Are adequate sources available?
    • Quality of sources
      • Reliable?
      • Biased?
      • Timely?

STEP 5: Synthesize:

  • Write your outline.
  • Take notes.
  • Write your paper and bibliography.
  • Congratulations! You’re finished!