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RESEARCHING & EVALUATING. Melanie Wilson Academic Success Center MSC 207. Summer 2008. Introduction. Researching is a key component of academic success . Understanding how to research , find , and evaluate information will help you in all of your classes and in life! Objectives:

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Researching evaluating


Melanie Wilson

Academic Success Center

MSC 207

Summer 2008


  • Researching is a key component of academic success.

  • Understanding how to research, find, and evaluate information will help you in all of your classes and in life!

  • Objectives:

    • In this presentation, I will:

      • Identify different types of resources

      • Identify where to search

      • Identify how to evaluate information

Truths about researching
Truths about Researching

  • Researching is a multi-step process

  • Researching takes times

  • The SUCCESS of a research paper is based on the quality of the information and sources you use.

  • It is nearly impossible to write a good paper with weak sources.

  • If you use strong resources – you’ll have a strong end product.

Types of resources
Types of Resources

  • Primary Sources

    • First hand materials & documents

      • Examples: photographs, first hand newspaper articles, letters, diaries, speeches

  • Where can I find primary documents?

    • Example:

      • Library of Congress

  • Secondary Sources

    • Explain and comment on first hand sources

      • Examples: books, articles, editorials, reviews

Types of resources1
Types of Resources

  • Peer-reviewed journals

    • Articles from a peer-reviewed journal are reviewed by a panel of experts before they are published for quality assurance.

    • Peer-reviewed articles can be found in research databases, such as Academic Search Complete.

  • Government documents

    • The government publishes a wealth of information, including legislation & statistics– most of which can be found online

Where to look for good info
Where to look for good info?

  • Government websites:

    • U.S. Department of Heath & Human Services

    • Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA

  • Newspapers

    • Lexis-Nexis Academic

  • Research Papers

    • Academic Search Complete

Searching the net
Searching the Net

  • The internet contains a wealth of information

  • Benefits:

    • Easy to use

    • Quickly updated & current

    • Hub of multi-media

  • Weaknesses:

    • Quality control

    • Always changing

Internet search tools
Internet Search Tools

  • If you must use the internet for research, these tools will help lead you to more reliable sources

    • Google Scholar

      • Benefit: connects directly to Ohiolink

    • Google News

    • Google Uncle Sam (Government Documents)

    • Google Books

    • Wikipedia

Evaluating resources
Evaluating Resources

The most important part of research, especially on the web, is evaluation. As a researcher, you need to be able to distinguish the good from the bad.

  • Scope

    • What area does the site cover? Does it go into an appropriate amount of depth?

  • Currency

    • Is the site recent?  Does it have a date listed?

  • Authority

    • Who is the author or institution publishing the site?  What are their credentials? Do they have expertise in the area?

  • Accuracy

    • Does the information have an obvious bias? Does the information contain citations?

  • Quality

    • Are there errors or spelling mistakes on the site? Is it well written?  Is it edited or peer-reviewed?

Building good research
Building Good Research

  • Quantity

    • Make sure you have enough resources to:

      • support your argument

      • Include a variety of viewpoints and material

  • Diversity

    • Include a variety of sources

      • Primary sources: contemporary accounts of an event and original documents

        • Examples: letters, diaries, audio-recordings, newspaper articles

      • Secondary sources: retrospective sources based on primary resources; include scholarly & scientific analysis

        • Examples: books, articles, editorials, reviews, scientific studies

  • Date of Publication

    • For currents events research use current sources that reflect current attitudes

    • For historical research use a variety of resources from different time periods



Web resource caution
Web Resource Caution

  • When using the internet --- BE CRITICAL!

  • Find out who is behind a site?

  • What is their motive?

  • Who is sponsoring it?

  • Who published the material?

    • An expert, a professor with a PhD, a professional?

More questions to ask
More questions to ask…

  • What is the tone?

  • Who is the intended audience?

  • What is the purpose of the publication?

  • What assumptions does the author make?

  • What are the bases of the author’s conclusions?

  • Does the author agree or disagree with other authors of the subject?

  • Does the content agree with what you know or have learned about the issue?

  • To verify this information look over the source’s documentation & citations.



Evaluating websites
Evaluating Websites

  • Are these websites… good or bad sources?






5 tips for research success
5 Tips for Research Success

  • Start early

  • Choose a strong topic

  • Choose an appropriate database for your topic

    • Break you topic into main ideas when searching

  • Evaluate potential sources

  • Cite any information that you use!

  • Links to research tools
    Links to Research Tools

    Tutorials of Researching:

    • Online Tutorials:

    • College Research: Transitioning to College:

      Resources & Databases for Research:

    • Online Reference Shelf:

    • Databases Alphabetical:

    • Subject Guides:

      Resources for Evaluating:

    • KSU library Evaluation Sheet & Criteria:

      Resources for Citing:


    • Academic Success Center:

    • Citing Resources:

      Materials from today’s lecture are available at:

    Good luck

    • Remember to start early and take advantage of the library.


      If you have any questions e-mail me at [email protected]