Library Workshop: Research 101 is an interactive tutorial that explores the six stages of the research process.
1: Begin Your Research
Starting strategies, from choosing a topic to finding the right keywords.
2: Knowledge Cycle
The publication timeline, scholarly vs. popular sources, and differences in academic disciplines.
3: Finding Books
Search for books and other items in OskiCat, Cal's local library catalog.
4: Finding Articles
Locate and access articles in library research databases.
5: Make Citations
How to cite your sources correctly.
6: Basic Search
Common techniques for constructing searches that yield useful results.
7: Advanced Search
Specialized search strategies for targeting specific topics.
Choose a topic.
Do a brain dump: Note down what you already know about your topic, including
Fill in the gaps in your knowlege: get background information from encyclopedias or other secondary sources. Wikipedia can be good here.
Select the best places/ databases to find information on your topic. Look under the History Databases tab of this guide for article database suggestions. Or use a catalog like Oskicat or Melvyl to search for books and other resources.
Use nouns from your brain dump as search terms.
Evaluate what you find. Change search terms to get closer to what you really want.
Refine Your Topic - Using the information you have gathered, determine if your research topic should be narrower or broader. You may need to search basic resources again using your new, focused topics and keywords.
Take a look this short tutorial on beginning your research for more ideas.
"I'm writing a paper on World War II."
Often students start their research with a very general topic, even though they may realize the topic is too large to deal with in a 10-15 page paper. Faculty and librarians tell them, "You have to narrow this down." But how do you narrow a topic?
You can combine these ideas, "What were the major impacts of WWII on women in France, in the decade after the war?"
More ideas in our brief tutorial on topic selection and narrowing.