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College Research Skills
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  1. College Research Skills Presented by the TJC Writing Lab

  2. What is research? • organized study: methodical investigation into a subject in order to discover facts, to establish or revise a theory, or to develop a plan of action based on the facts discovered. • What is already known about my topic? • What needs to be understood? • How can I add to this ongoing conversation?

  3. When will I do research? • Argument papers • History essays • Scientific studies • Literary Analysis essays • Psychology papers • Studies in Education • Nursing/Medical field studies • Any time you look something up!

  4. What is good research? • Finding appropriate and trusted sources • Understanding how library databases work • Good reading comprehension • Ability to summarize others’ points • Deciding what ideas you agree/disagree with • Composing an original thesis • Paraphrasing/quoting skills • Being open to learning as you go

  5. Sources- What is a “good” source? • Published articles in scholarly journals • Published books/dissertations • Newspapers/Magazines • Interviews • Class lectures/notes • Some websites (be careful)

  6. Reliable Source Unreliable Source • A book published by a major publishing house. (William Shakespeare’s Sonnets, edited by Harold Bloom) • An article published in a major scholarly journal or magazine (College English, Explicator). • Government Websites • Encyclopedia/Dictionary sites • Educational/University websites • A self-published (vanity press) book • • • Personal Blogs • Any source that does not cite its quotations, or have an author Evaluating Web Sources

  7. TJC Library Database Use the Library Database to access articles on any subject– literature, history, psychology, nursing, sciences, education, and on and on….. TJC Library Database Know your library database Know your library database.

  8. TJC Policy on Plagiarism From the TJC Student Handbook C. Misconduct Any student found to have committed misconduct while classified as a student is subject to disciplinary sanctions, conditions, and/or restrictions. Misconduct or prohibited behavior includes, but is not limited to: Academic Dishonesty a. Cheating. b. Plagiarism. c. Collusion.

  9. What constitutes plagiarism? • Buying a paper online • A friend or a relative writing your paper • Copying and pasting information from websites into your paper without citing them afterwards • Copying quotes from books or articles without acknowledging the original author • Using a roommate's old paper • Paraphrasing or quoting without citation UCLA website on plagiarism

  10. Consequences of Plagiarizing • Can differ from instructor to instructor • Failing the essay assignment • Failing the course • Expulsion from college • Drawn and quartered (just kidding)

  11. Eliminating Plagiarism • Summarize the main ideas of your sources. • If the information is common knowledge, you do not need to cite it (dates, major events, well known facts). • If you have used someone’s original idea about the topic, cite it. • Practice paraphrasing, but still cite what you have paraphrased. • If you are in doubt, cite it!

  12. What is common knowledge? • The Civil war lasted from 1861-1865. • John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. • William Blake is a famous Romantic poet. • Paradise Lost was written by John Milton. • The terrorist attacks on U.S. soil known as 9/11 were more than just the attacks on the Twin Towers.

  13. What is an original idea? "What secessionists set out to build was something entirely new in the history of nations: a modern proslavery and antidemocratic state, dedicated to the proposition that all men were not created equal” (McCurry 24). “[William Blake] had great powers of argument, and on general subjects was a very patient and good-tempered disputant…” (Southam 34). “Kennedy played both defense and offense in convincing voters that a Catholic president would not be a tool of the Vatican” (Balmer 279).

  14. Summarizing Skills • First, skim the article to be sure it pertains to your topic. • If it does, read the whole article carefully, underlining key ideas (places where the author makes his/her opinion known). • Try to locate a thesis (main idea) sentence or group of sentences. • Once you feel that you have a good idea of the author’s argument, put the article away and write those ideas down in your own words. Sample Summary

  15. Practice Summarizing: It is important to establish that Homer Barron was probably not intended to be perceived as gay for two reasons. First, believing Barron to be homosexual distracts students from one of the story’s important ideas: that in turning Emily Grierson into a monument, the town has done much to turn her into a murderer and a necrophile. Indeed, they would rather have her be a murderer than lose her status as a lady. The rigid roles formed by gender and social class have driven Emily mad. Second, this misconception causes students to miss the fact that in other times many Americans thought very differently about gender, race, class, and sexual behavior than the majority of young Americans do now. “Faulkner’s Gay Homer Once More” by Judith Ceasar (p.197)

  16. Paraphrasing Skills • Paraphrase is longer than summary • Looks at more specific ideas (as opposed to the main idea of a passage or article) • Does not need quotation marks • Must be cited just as a quote would • Must be in your own words Sample Paraphrase

  17. Practice Paraphrasingpara Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.

  18. Quotation Skills • Be sparing with quotations; you should only use them if it’s is a very important point that cannot be made any other way. • You must quote your source author word for word (even if a word is misspelled!) • Use quotation marks at the beginning and the end of the quote. • Cite the author and page number (MLA) Quotations

  19. Practice Quoting Although book reading is declining in favor of digital entertainment, the detriment to society may not be as grave as some may think. For example, most people in Shakespeare's time, about a century after Gutenberg, saw his plays on stage, not in a book. Is that so different from watching film versions of a book on a laptop or viewing a book on a hand-held video today? “The Digital Revolution has Reduced Reading Comprehension” by W.E. Jacobs (no page)

  20. Research Terminology Primary and Secondary Sources • In literature field: primary sources are stories, poems, or works of non-fiction on which you develop an original idea. In sciences: primary sources include case studies and published theories. • Secondary sources are any sources you seek outside your primary source (analysis of fiction or poetry, later studies and theories).

  21. Research Terminology Citation • In-text Citation: After quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing, you must list the author’s name and page #. • Works Cited or Bibliography Page: A reference sheet at the end of your paper. It gives your reader ALL the info. s/he needs to find your source in its entirety.

  22. Sample in-text citation (MLA) Human beings have been described by Kenneth Burke as "symbol-using animals" (3). Human beings have been described as "symbol-using animals" (Burke 3).

  23. Research Terminology MLA • “Modern Language Association” – used in humanities • Calls for a certain formatting (shown on next slide) • In text citation includes author’s last name and page number (Jackson 7). • If no author is available, list the title of the article: (“Where Have all The Cowboys Gone?” 5) • Calls for a Works Cited page as last page of the essay.

  24. Research Terminology APA • “American Psychological Association” is used in social science fields. • In text citation includes dates, and often more than one name. • Reference sheet is provided at the end of the paper. APA Powerpoint