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Understand the assignment
What does your research require?
- A description and or definition of the topic?
- A history of the growth or development of the subject matter?
- Analysis of issues related to the topic?
- Taking a stand on an issue and providing persuasive arguments?
- Statistics, case studies, photos, biographical information?
- When is it due?
What types of resources must you use?
- Books, including encyclopedias
- Journals vs. magazine articles
- Internet websites
How are you supposed to cite your sources of information?
- MLA, APA, other citation style?
Sources for Background Reading
- Reference books; look at the table of contents and index for ideas
- General encyclopedias such as World Book Encyclopedia (in the Library) to locate a broad topic
- Gale Virtual Reference Library for subject encyclopedias and reference books online
- Subject (specialized) encyclopedias from the Library - Reference Books area - Use the catalog to locate
Identify keywords and concepts
Keywords and concepts describe the main idea(s) of your topic and enable you to focus your research.
- Based on your assigned texts, jot down the terms that you identify as the keywords and main concepts.
- Use background information from reference sources such as the Gale Virtual Reference Library to find additional keywords and synonyms.
- Group the keywords by concept.
- Identify synonyms of your keywords (e.g., synonyms for "teenagers" are adolescents, youths, and children).
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