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Introduction to Research

On this page:

  • Your research topic
  • Finding books, articles and other materials
  • Evaluating resources
  • Citing sources

Your research topic

Analyse your topic and identify main concepts or keywords. Find synonyms and related terms for each of concept or keyword. Combine similar concepts or keywords by using OR between them.  Combine dissimilar concepts or keywords by using AND between them.

Example: Use of social media tools in higher education.

(Social media OR facebook OR twitter) AND (higher education OR university)

Finding background information

Encyclopedias and dictionaries: You can find subject-specific encyclopedias and dictionaries in Oxford Reference Online.

Finding books, articles, and other materials

Find books: Library Search
Find journal articles
Find streaming video: TVNews (Informit) ; Lynda.com

Identifying scholarly or peer-reviewed journals

You can verify if a journal is scholarly or peer-reviewed by looking up the journal title in UlrichsWeb.

Evaluating resources

When using a book, article, report, or Web site for your research, it is important to gauge how reliable the source is.

  • Author or creator: What are the author's credentials (educational background, past writing, experience) in this area?
  • Year of publication: Is the source current or out of date for your topic?
  • Publisher: Is it a university press or a large reputable publisher?
  • Intended audience: What type of audience is the author addressing? Is this source too elementary, too technical, too advanced, or just right for your needs?
  • Is the author's point of view objective and impartial? Is the language free of emotion-rousing words or bias?

Citing sources

When writing a research paper, it is important to cite the sources you used in a way such that a reader could find them.  Use the same bibliographic style throughout your paper. A bibliographic management tool, EndNote, automates the referencing process.