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School of Information: Research

Get acquainted with resources available at PMC to help you with your research at the School of Information!

Getting Help with Your Research

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Helpful Research Guides

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Search Smart

 Remember that with library resources especially, it pays to search smart:

use AND in between search terms to group them together

use OR for more results

use NOT if you want to exempt a word from your results

use quotation marks "_" to isolate phrases

use the wildcard * to get all versions of a word

Starting Research: Get the Big Picture

Once you have a basic idea of what your topic is, you'll need to get an idea of the big picture. What are the major issues involved in your topic? What are the terms associated with it?

Reference sources are a great way to begin your search. They'll show you which sources experts recommend and give you ideas for specific areas of the topic you may want to research. These are often broad and general, so it's best to start here and narrow your topic down as you progress.

Brainstorm Keywords

Evaluating Sources

The  CRAP Test

Currency 

  • How recent is the information?
  • Can you locate a date for when the resource was written/created/updated?
  • Based on your topic, is it current enough?
  • Why might the date matter for your topic?

 

Reliability 

  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion? 
  • Is is balanced or biased?
  • Is there a Bibliography? In other words, does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations? 

 

Authority 

  • Can you determine who is the creator or author?
  • What are the credentials (education, affiliation, expertise?)
  • Is the publisher or sponsor reputable?
  • Are they reputable?
  • What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?
  • Are there advertisements on the website?

 

Purpose/Point of View 

  • What's the intent of the article? (to persuade you, to sell you something?)
  • For web resources, what is the domain? (.com .edu, .gov?) How might this influence the purpose or point of view?
  • For web resources, are there ads on the webpage? How do they related to the topic of the web resource? (for example an ad for ammunition next to an article on firearm legislation or against gun control)
  • Is the author presenting fact or opinion?

Adapted from Dominican University

APA Citation Help

Most of your classes at the School of Information will require you to write papers using APA (American Psychological Association) style. You can learn more about APA hereYou can also vist the  Purdue OWL YouTube Channel to view their  APA vidcast series. For more information, visit the library to consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing). 

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