Argument Essay: Research Process

Explore & develop your topic
  • self-educate (read & think about what you read)
  • begin with a broader topic category and use the information you find to help you decide how to focus and organize
  • let your sources guide you - don't invite frustration trying to find information that "fits"

Source types (handout)
  • When you find information you think you can use in your research, it's important to consider the source type two reasons:
    1. Evaluation. Is it an appropriate resource for your topic? Who is the author? Is the information fact-based, opinion-based, or both?
    2. Citation. In order to cite it correctly, you have to know what type of source it is (book, encyclopedia, journal article, newspaper article, web site, etc.).

Reference books: specialized encyclopedias
  • Some are print books in the library, some are ebooks
  • give you the "big picture" - overview & context
  • help you determine keywords you can use to search databases and indexes

Books: print (check out from the library) and/or ebooks (full text online)
  • Search the library catalog using one or two keywords
  • use the Table of Contents in the front to find sections in the book that might have information about your topic
  • use the Index in the back to find parts of the book where your keywords appear

Articles: magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals
  • Type your keywords into the URsearch box on the library's home page
  • Refine results using the filters/limiters on the left edge of your results page:
    • full text (check box)
    • dates (if appropriate for your topic)
    • source types (academic journals, magazines, news, reports, etc.)
    • language (English)