How To: Start Your Research

How To: Start Your Research Background Pic

Start Your Research

If you have never conducted research at the collegiate level, it would be beneficial to learn some research basics. There are many Web sites that offer primers on beginning research. A few of the most helpful are:


  • Introduction to Research - great starting point to learn the basics of research; prepared by Cornell University Library

  • Writing a Research Paper - covers not only the research process (briefly) but also detailed information on how to go about writing a research paper; available from the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University


Another great resource to refer to is the ProQuest Research Companion. It is comprised of Learning Modules and interactive Tools—all designed to automate the key elements of the research process. The multimedia-based Learning Modules engage researchers to think more critically and creatively about their research, while powerful, interactive Tools help them navigate through the research process more efficiently and more effectively, focusing more time on the research that interests them most. The responsive design means it's adaptable to all devices—laptops, tablets, and smart phones.


Once you understand the research process and are ready to gather information, the Norma Wood Library offers many resources to help you begin your search. In addition to its collection of print volumes and journals, the library also offers access to a wealth of scholarly information online through databases. To find descriptions of the databases, visit the Research Databases webpage. In an effort to make the online resources convenient to students, all library databases are accessible from off-campus by logging in with your student ID. The library has also prepared a tutorial to help you learn to use the different databases. It offers presentations on how to search each database along with search strategies, helpful handouts and other relevant information. The tutorial is available free to currently enrolled ASUMH students via Blackboard and is titled Information Literacy. If you need help searching for specific sources for your research, the library has prepared a couple of basic primers for your use:


  • Finding Items in the Library - covers searching the library's Online Catalog and locating items on the shelf

  • Finding an Article - covers searching for a specific article or journal and searching for any article on a particular topic


If you are doing research on the Internet -- not through the library's databases -- you should be diligent in evaluating the quality of your Internet resources. While the Internet and the World Wide Web have made it possible for accessing a wealth of information, it is important to keep in mind that almost anyone can publish a Web site. If you are going to include a Web site as a source of information (for instance, when writing a paper), it is important to evaluate the site in light of the following criteria:


  • Authority - Is there an identified author of the site? Are credentials and contact information listed?

  • Accuracy - Can you verify the information on the site? Are correct grammar and spelling used?

  • Objectivity - Does the site seem to be free of bias? Is it free of excessive advertisements?

  • Currency - Was the site recently updated? Is it relatively free of "dead" links?

  • Coverage - Does the coverage appear to be complete and thorough? Do links complement the site?


For more information on evaluating Internet resources, check out the sites from UC Berkley and Cornell University on this subject. When it finally comes time to write your paper, the library offers resources to help you with formatting and citing. If you are having trouble finding information on your topic, please make an appointment to meet with the librarian, who can help you target your information sources. Call or e-mail the library to schedule a meeting time. In the library, we are here to help you achieve academic success!

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In Person
Roller Hall, 1st Floor

Mail
Attn: Library
1600 South College St.
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Phone
870-508-6112

Email
cybrarian@asumh.edu

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