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This handout will show you ways to streamline your research so that you have time to do the reading and writing that you need to. Many people have a scatteredapproach to research, but that won't yield the best results. The ideas here are taken from adult learning theory and the pedagogy of Janice Lauer.
Begin with a Question, Not a Topic, Even if You're Assigned a Topic
If you write with a question to be answered, you'll know when you are done! If you write on atopic, you'll never be finished. Ask a questionof the material that you would really like answered: that will motivate you to do your best work. Adults do their best when they choose what they're learning and see it as relevant. Here is a link to a handout on getting started: /academic/writingcenter/WAC/Invent.html
Make a Library Roadmap for Yourself
The link will take you to a set of questions that will give you a roadmap for research. Answer them quickly and then you'll know where you have to begin in the library: Invention for Research
Go from the Most General to the Most Specific Information
Books often provide the most readable way into your subject matter (if there are books written on your subject). General articles from reputable magazines are also a good start. Here are some ideas for starting research:
- go to the CSU library homepage http://www.ulib.csuohio.edu/
- spend 1 hour just looking for titles on your subject(about 40 for a 10 page paper—don't faint, you will eliminate most of them andisolate the 5-6 excellent ones—so many sources promise more than they deliver)
- you do this by searching for books and articles(sometimes web sites)
- for books, search OhioLink and order yourself books we don't own; use this link to get there http://olc1.ohiolink.edu/search/
- for articles, use the FindArticles page on the library web site:
- be patient at first when you try new databases—this is new to everyone
- if you get stuck or have questions, you can email a CSU librarian who will send you an answer if you use this link
Help with Finding Sources and Sample Papers
The following link offers students general resources and weblinks to research in the humanities, social sciences, history, and the sciences: http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/ It's very helpful to look at a sample paperin order to get your references correctly cited. This web site also covers Chicago Style (Turabian).
Help with Citations and Reference Page
The following web site offers an amazing array of handoutsand exercises, and you can opt for printer-friendly versions: http://owl.english.purdue.edu Type APA format or MLA format into the search box and you will be able to print a 10-page handout that is very easy toread—much easier than the books that APA and MLA put out. This site also offers ESL handouts on a wide array of subject matters.
Schedule a Tutorial in the Writing Center
To set up an appointment to have a tutor look at your work,call 216-687-6981. We go over all stages of research—from planning and researching to drafting and editing.