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Getting Started in Research. Spring 2018.

For the Beginning Researcher

When beginning research, it is easy to get overwhelmed,  Starting off in an organized fashion will save you time and make life easier.  Understand the types of articles your need to find for your assignment. Do you need scholarly, peer-reviewed, or trade?  Maybe you need a mix.  Make sure you know exactly what your professor wants BEFORE you begin.  Secondly, know the difference between the types.  Use the tutorials or the charts and tips throughout this guide,  Research in an appropriate database like Compendex or Web of Science. These are already focused on research literature.  Remember, trade journal articles may be mixed in your results. So make sure the articles you select meet your research needs by evaluating your sources.  Consider using a citation manager like EndNote to organize all your citations.  This will make it much easier when you write your paper. Finally, if you need help, ask a librarian!  Set up a consult appointment to get you off on the right start or if you get stuck, we can help you get back on track. Remember, finding information is our specialty!

Starting Your Research Project

1) Understand your assignment research requirements.  Do you need statistics?  Data? Research articles? 

2) Turn your research topic into a question. This narrows the focus and makes it more manageable.  

3)  Develop a search strategy using key words to find articles.  Identify the databases you will use. 

4)  Read the articles you find and manage your citations as you go so you can create a bibliography later.  Are they scholarly or trade? Do they meet your research criteria?

5)  Review your information and if it isn't answering your question go back and research some more, using additional keywords and perhaps a different database.

6) Ask a librarian at any point in the process for assistance. We are here to help you succeed!

Schedule a Consult

Click here to  Schedule a Consult.  These are approximately one hour long and will be focused on your research.  Please provide as much information on your topic - focus, key concepts, key words, what you have researched, what you may be having difficulty with in your literature searching. 

Article Databases

The article  databases listed below should be used for your research assignment. Use the Database and Key word Tutorial tabs to find short videos that will help you use these databases.  Remember - do not rely on the database to determine if a journal is scholarly or trade as most are NOT differentiating. Use the Scholarly Articles Tab to organize the research process and save you time!

Susan K. Smith, Engineering Librarian

Susan K Smith's picture
Susan K Smith
Science & Engineering Library
Office: 310G
M.I. King Bldg. - South
179 Funkhouser Drive