Outcome: Finding Sources

Identify and Practice Preliminary, Intermediate, and Advanced Search Techniques

There are lots of reasons to include research in an academic essay.

  • Young man in yellow shirt looking down with wide eyes at a book he's holding, which is glowingReading what others have written about a topic clearly helps you become better-informed about it
  • Sharing what you’ve learned about the topic in your essay demonstrates your knowledge
  • Quoting or paraphrasing experts in the field establishes your own credibility as an author on the topic
  • Responding to what’s already been said on a topic, by including your unique perspective, allows your essay to enter the broader conversation, and shape how others feel about the issue

And, the biggest motivation of all: it’s a requirement for an assignment (because your instructor wants you to do all of those things above).

We’ve learned that the writing process is a series of flexible steps that help you break a large project into smaller, bite-size pieces.  Research is also a process. It’s not something that can be accomplished well in one single step, but rather done in stages, with time for reflection and analysis in between.

The first part of that process is simply knowing where to look, and that’s what we’ll explore in the following pages.

What You Will Learn to Do

  • identify preliminary research strategies (developing a research plan, basic online searching, using Google)
  • identify intermediate research strategies (advanced online searches, finding scholarly sources and primary and secondary sources, librarian consultation)
  • identify advanced search strategies (advanced library searches, library databases, keyword and field searches)

The Learning Activities for this Outcome Include

  • Text: Preliminary Research Strategies
  • Video: Level Up Your Google Game
  • Text: Intermediate Research Strategies
  • Video: Google Scholar
  • Video: Advanced Search Strategies
  • Reading: How to Search in a Database
  • Self-Check: Finding Sources
  • Try It: Finding Sources