There are two types of research that can be incorporated into a paper: Primary research involves collecting data yourself, through personal interviews, observations or surveys.
Knowing about the different types of research you can use helps you determine what type will make your research paper stronger. Because the Internet is the most accessible avenue for information, it is the place most students start.
However, all online sources are not created equal. There are several ways to determine the credibility of your Internet sources. Look at the credentials for the author of the piece. Are they applicable to the topic of the article? These are signs of a reliable resource. When was the article written? Some subjects need timely information to be relevant. If in argumental essay topics about your ability to find the best online sources, you should ask your instructor for website recommendations.
Print sources are the most traditional form of research paper sources. Books, journals, newspapers, magazines and textbooks are all print resources that typically are found in libraries and bookstores.
Today, many sources that were once in print only can also be found on the Internet. However, that is not true for everything, so print sources are still valuable forms of research. Ask a librarian for help if you are having trouble finding print sources that apply to your topic. If you are writing about a topic that directly affects people in your community, including interviews in your research paper will add credibility and immediacy to your argument.
For example, if you are assigned a paper on how college tuition is scheduled to increase in your state, you can interview college students to learn the ways this increase will affect them. When conducting an interview, you should prepare questions before you arrive and, if possible, record the interview so that you can correctly transcribe the quotes.
In addition, never arrive late to an interview and send a note afterward thanking the subject for taking the time to speak with you. Using sources to support your ideas is one characteristic of the research paper that sets it apart from personal and creative writing.
Sources come in many forms, such as magazine and journal articles, books, newspapers, videos, films, computer discussion groups, surveys, or interviews. The trick is to find and then match appropriate, valid sources to your own ideas. But where do you go to obtain these sources? For college research papers, you will need to use sources available in academic libraries college or university libraries as opposed to public libraries.
Here you will find journals and other texts that go into more depth in a discipline and are therefore more appropriate for college research than those sources written for the general public. Some, though not all, of these sources are now in electronic format, and may be accessible outside of the library using a computer. Primary sources are original, first-hand documents such as creative works, research studies, diaries and letters, or interviews you conduct.
Secondary sources are comments about primary sources such as analyses of creative work or original research, or historical interpretations of diaries and letters.
You can use a combination of primary and secondary sources to answer your research question, depending on the question and the type of sources it requires.
The textbook is a secondary source, one step removed from the original experience or observation. An on-line catalog has replaced card catalogs in many libraries as a means of pay to do assignemnt university and indexing what is in the library.
You use an on-line catalog the same way you use a card catalog: Most of the searches that you do for a research paper will be subject searches, unless you already know enough about the field to know some standard sources by author or title.
Also remember to record the call number, which is the number you use to find the item in the library. Magazines are written for the general public, so they contain articles that do not present a subject in depth. Journals are written by and for professionals in various fields and will provide you with in-depth, specific information. Your professors will expect you to use some journals; in fact, the more advanced your courses are, the more you should be using journal articles in your research as opposed to magazine articles.
How do you find articles to answer your research question? Most magazine and journal articles are referenced in either an index or an abstract. An index lists magazine or journal articles by subject. Find the correct subject heading or keyword to search for articles.
Write down all the information for each article. If not, you can use the information to request the article through interlibrary loan. Many libraries have many of these indices on their on-line systems; check with the reference librarian if you have a question about indices available on-line.
A bound, printed abstract takes two steps to use. The first step is the same--find the appropriate subject heading in the index portion and write down all of the information in the entry. Note that the entry will also include a number or some kind of an identifying code.
The most commonly used index to newspaper articles is the New York Times Index, organized alphabetically by subject. Your local newspaper also may publish an index, which may be useful if you are researching local history or politics.
Encyclopedias provide background information about a subject. Note that you should confine your use of encyclopedias to background information only, since their information is too general to function as an appropriate source for a college paper.
Specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries provide background in specific fields e. Facts on File and Statistical Abstracts provide brief bits of statistical information that can aid your research. Other reference books abound e.
It will be time well spent. The Library of Congress provides an indexing system; most academic libraries index their books using Library of Congress subject headings.
The Library of Congress publishes a Subject Heading Index listing all of the subject headings that they use. Why bother knowing this information? The Subject Heading Index is a good tool for you as a researcher. If you are finding too much information, check this index to see at a glance all of the various headings and sub-headings for the subject.
You can get an idea of how to narrow down and focus your subject simply by scanning these various headings and sub-headings. Just note that these subject headings relate to books only.
Magazine and journal indexes and abstracts will use their own subject headings but the Library of Congress headings can at least give you an idea of the types of headings to use. The important thing to remember here is that, by the time a book is printed, the information is at least a couple of years old. That means that you should get yourself into the library.
The Internet provides access to a lot of information. The ESC Library provides access to a number of useful databases on a wide variety of topics. The Internet provides access to many on-line catalogs so you can review the types of books available in the field and carried by that particular library.
The Internet also provides access to a few full-text electronic journals which means that you can read and print the maths home work right from the screen. Government information e. The Internet can link you up with individuals who might have expertise on the topic you are researching. You can find these people by joining electronic discussion groups newsgroups or maillists.
These forums are usually categorized by topic e. By posting a question to the group or maillist, you can obtain useful information from knowledgeable people willing to dissertation filing ucsb their expertise.
The one big problem with the Internet is that you sometimes need to sift. But if you persevere, and even if you just play around with it, the Internet can offer some gems of information in a quick, easy way. People who have "been there" and "done that" can add a real richness to your research. Who better than a former Olympic athlete to provide information about the emotional effects of athletic competition?
You can consult knowledgeable people in print as well. Starting your research early will assure that you have time to get the sources that you want to consult.
One big tip for using interlibrary loan: So get in the habit of writing all of the information down as you compile your list of sources. For books, write down the author, title, publisher, place, and date of publication.
For articles, write down the article title, journal title, author, volume, date, span of page numbers, and the name, year, and page number of the reference source in which you found the article listed. The library needs this information to order your source. One big tip for working with a reference librarian: The librarian will immediately be able to suggest a number of places to look if you tell him that your research question is "Why is smoking being banned in public places?
Background Gathering sources is much more complex than it used to be. Your primary places for locating sources will be: The library Other computer sources CDRoms, etc. The library If you go to the library, you will find that the old card catalog, which only lists books, has been replaced by a computer in most libraries. Is the book or article biased in a particular way? For instance, is the book or article written by a person who is a member of a particular religious group, or a particular environmental group, for example, which would "color" their interpretation?
Does the author agree or disagree with my thesis? Is the information presented accurately, to the best of your knowledge? Periodicals Magazines including Time or Newsweek are called periodicals as they are published periodically weekly, monthly, etc. Other computer resources CDROM, specialized databases etc Many libraries today, especially if they are larger libraries, have information available on CDROM or through what are called specialized databases.
Taking notes, paraphrasing, and quoting Taking notes is an important part of doing research. What do I take notes on? Good question. You should take notes on ideas and concepts that you think are important to include in your paper. You also can include supporting examples that you think would be helpful to refer to. You should NOT write the words down exactly as they appear on the page, unless you are putting them in quotations. Otherwise, you might accidentally write them into your paper that way, and that would be plagiarism.
Be sure to write down the page number that you are working from in case you want to refer back to it. Click here to learn more about Taking Notes. Using quotes, or What if I want the exact words? You must be very careful to record the page number that this information is from, because you will need to include it in your paper.
Quotes should not be debora weber wulff dissertation terribly often--if your paper is nothing more than a series of quotes strung together and yes, we have all written those! Click here to see an example and to work more with using quotations. What about summarizing and paraphrasing? However, when you are summarize or paraphrase, you record ideas as opposed to exact language; the language is yours.
Once again, be sure to jot down the page number--you will need it later. Any time you summarize or paraphrase, you MUST acknowledge the source of your information.
Not only is it a professional requirement, it is a way to avoid plagiarism. To see an example, read more specific information, and work with exercises, check out Summaries and Paraphrases.
Research Paper: Two words that strike fear into the hearts of many students. Four syllables that create panic, dread, and anxiety. Think about it. A research paper is like a jury trial. Now try convincing the jury that your client is innocent because he was out of town when the crime happened.