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How to do research. Ashley Williams Academic Writing Workshop. So I needed to do some research…. ….about how to teach you about research…. My research helped me draw these conclsions : that you would need to know. What research is Where you can find research sources

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how to do research

How to do research

Ashley Williams

Academic Writing Workshop


So I needed to do some research….

….about how to teach you about research…

my research helped me draw these conclsions that you would need to know
Myresearchhelped me drawtheseconclsions: thatyouwouldneed to know
  • What research is
  • Where you can find research sources
  • The types of sources that exist
  • How to tell if a source is reliable
  • How to record your research for future use
know your topic what is a research paper
Know yourtopic: Whatis a researchpaper?

A research paper is not simply an informed summary of a topic by means of primary and secondary sources. It is neither a book report nor an opinion piece nor an expository essay consisting solely of one's interpretation of a text nor an overview of a particular topic. Instead, it is a genre that requires one to spend time investigating and evaluating sources with the intent to offer interpretations of the texts, and not unconscious regurgitations of those sources. The goal of a research paper is not to inform the reader what others have to say about a topic, but to draw on what others have to say about a topic and engage the sources in order to thoughtfully offer a unique perspective on the issue at hand.

--The Purdue OWL, “Genre and research paper”


Research means reading!

You have to read a lot!

where can you find sources
Where can you find sources?

Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc, Rabat, <

  • Ask about access to online databases such as JSTOR, which have copies of thousands of academic journals online
  • School library: ask librarians for help
  • Other local libraries
  • The internet: look at reputable online sources such as academic journals, Googlebooks, Google Scholar, etc
types of sources
Types of sources

Traditional Print Sources

  • Books & Textbooks: Books come in a multitude of topics. Because of the time it takes to publish a book, books usually contain more dated information than will be found in journals and newspapers.
  • Newspapers: Predominately covering the latest events and trends, newspapers contain very up-to-date information. Newspapers report both information that is factual in nature and also share opinions. Generally, however, they will not take a “big picture” approach or contain information about larger trends.
  • Academic and Trade Journals: Academic and trade journals are where to find the most up-to-date information and research in industry, business, and academia. Journal articles come in several forms, including literature reviews which overview about current and past research, articles on theories and history, or articles on specific processes or research.
  • Government Reports and Legal Documents: The government releases information intended for its own use or for public use. These types of documents can be an excellent source of information. An example of a government report is the U.S. Census data. Most government reports and legal documents can now be accessed online.
  • Press Releases and Advertising: Companies and special interest groups produce texts to help persuade readers to act in some way or inform the public about some new development
  • Flyers, Pamphlets, Leaflets: While some flyers or pamphlets are created by reputable sources, because of the ease in which they are created, many less-than-reputable sources also produce these. They are useful for quick reference or very general information.
  • Multimedia: Printed material is certainly not the only option for finding research. Also consider media sources such as radio and television broadcasts, interactive talks, and public meetings.

Internet-Only Sources

  • Websites: Most of the information on the Internet is distributed via websites. Websites vary widely in quality of information and validity of sources.
  • Weblogs / Blogs: A rather recent development in web technology, weblogs or blogs are a type of interactive journal where writers post and readers respond. They vary widely in quality of information and validity of sources. For example, many prestigious journalists and public figures may have blogs, which may be more credible of a blog than most.
  • Multimedia: The Internet has a multitude of multimedia resources including online broadcasts and news, images, audio files, and interactive websites.

--The Purdue OWL, “Types of sources”

use your sources
Use your sources

When you find a book or website on your research topic, even if it’s not useful to you, turn to the back and read the list of sources that the author used. This is called a bibliography.

This is a quick way to learn what people writing about this topic read!

identify if your sources are reliable
Identify if your sources are reliable

· What person or organization is the source of this information?

· What do I know about him, her, or it?

· How could I check the source’s reliability?

· How current is the information; is any of it out-of-date?

· Why is the person writing this piece? Is it for information, entertainment, opinion, or marketing/advertisement purposes? If for information, is the writer objective?

· How does the information compare with information in other sources? “How to do research”

keep notes of your research
Keep notes of your research

“Gather these general sources, and keep a bibliographic record of them…”

--Agnes Scott College Writing Center Handout No.2, “Research Papers”

  • When you find an interesting idea, write down where you found it and what page the idea was on
  • Baker, Jack Raymond and Allen Brizee. “Genre and Research Paper.” The Purdue OWL. 3/9/2011. Purdue University. 4/1/2012 <>
  • Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc, Rabat. 4/1/2012 <>
  • Driscoll, Dana Lynn and Karl Stolley. “Types of Sources.” The Purdue OWL. 4/17/2012. Purdue University. 4/1/2012 < >
  • “How to do Research.” 4/2/2012 <>
  • “Research Papers.” Handout No.2. 2008.Agnes Scott College Writing Center.