This research guide was created for students in NRE 301, Natural Resources and Environmental Science. It will introduce you to some basic resources for finding and evaluating information. Much of the emphasis is on library resources that will help you identify credible information sources, especially commercial databases that index and abstract scholarly and professional literature. However, an increasing amount of useful information is published directly on the WWW. This guide is also designed to help you search the Web more efficiently and critically analyze and choose the information you find there. Although this guide is by no means exhaustive, the resources listed here provide a good starting point for your research.
The research process is often described as a series of discrete steps giving the impression that you proceed step-by-step from beginning your research to writing your paper. In fact, depending on your assignment, you may not need all the steps in the research process or you may need to revisit steps a number of times as you revise an initial research plan or even a topic depending upon what you find as you research. You may reevaluate your topic and the way you are presenting it several times before you come up with a final paper/presentation.
As you discover what information sources are available for your research, you may well have to revise your initial plan. Is your topic too broad to be covered in the time you have to research it and the assignment parameters for length? Is it so current or specific that you are experiencing difficulty finding enough information sources to support your topic?
Whether you need to proceed step-by-step through a research process or not, knowing what the steps are can help guide and focus your research and your paper/presentation. If you need to review any of the steps in the research process, please check out the link below from the Cornell University Library.
Reference and Information Services
William T. Young Library
Responsibilities: General Reference, Information Literacy and Library Instruction, Reference Collection Management, Academic Liaison for Social Work