Locating Resources. For: Scientific Research October 2012. Search Your Topic. Go to the library and read everything you can on your topic. Gather information on your topic. Searching the Literature: Understand the difference between primary and secondary sources.
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For: Scientific Research
Go to the library and read everything you can on your topic.
Gather information on your topic.
Searching the Literature:
Understand the difference between primary and secondary sources.
Start by consulting general references. You need to have a solid background and some sense of your aims and scope of the project before plunging into primary literature.
Plan your search using vocabulary carefully. Key words and authors’ names are the chief means of accessing information in databases as well as on the Internet. Also, be aware that ample time is needed to do a thorough literature search.
A primary source is an original object or document -- the raw material or first-hand information.
Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eye witness accounts, results of an experiment, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, and art objects.
A secondary source is something written about a primary source. Secondary sources include comments on, interpretations of, or discussions about the original material.
Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that evaluate or criticize someone else's original research.
From: The Library of Congress
Background research is also important to help you understand the theory behind your experiment.
In other words, science fair judges like to see that you understand why your experiment turns out the way it does.
You do library and Internet research so that you can make a prediction of what will occur in your experiment, and then whether that prediction is right or wrong, you will have the knowledge to understand what caused the behavior you observed.
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