Research Strategy Tips and Tools, including:
Allow enough time for your research! College-level research may require more technique (and patience) than research projects you have done before.
You might try one of these research planners to develop a schedule for your assignment and not wait until the last minute:
Now think about your topic, or potential topic. Before you plunge in and start searching, think about the types of resources that fit your needs best and where you should look for them. Also consider they types of resources specified in your assignment. The other pages of this guide will help you learn use GALILEO and the GIL-Find catalog to locate the resources you need.
Click on the icons next to each type for examples. They will require the appropriate passwords off-campus.
Scholarly Journal articles
Videos/audio - Rarely a source of literary analysis, but you may find author interviews that provide insight on the work you are studying. Locate in Films on Demand or other GSU Library research databases or in the library catalog.
Websites - Your instructor may not allow websites, but if you are allowed to use them, be extra careful about the quality of information you find. Government agencies and reports are often good sources of information on the web. You may try Google Scholar to find high-quality scholarly sources, but if it asks you to pay, see if you can find the same source for free in GSU's research databases!
The type of information source you want will determine:
In scholarly research, it is important to use high quality, reputable sources. Many research databases label articles as being published in either a scholarly journal/academic journal or a magazine/newspaper. What's the difference?
|Scholarly Journals||Popular Magazines & Newspapers|
|Articles written by experts in their fields of study.||Articles written by journalists.|
|Reports on in-depth research and analysis.||Written for entertainment or lighter information.|
|Articles usually longer in length.||Articles usually shorter in length.|
|Author's credentials and affiliation stated. Usually a university or research institution.||Writer may or may not be identified.|
|Has extensive citations and references.||Might mention information sources in text but has no reference list at end of article.|
|Usually doesn't contain advertisements (may contain a few directly related to journal subject).||Includes advertisements for popular products.|
Watch the video below to learn more:
Peer-reviewed sources are sources that have been reviewed by a group of scholarly peers. It usually works in this manner:
Watch the video below to more information:
Once you have a topic in mind, brainstorm about possible words you might use as search terms. Remember not all search tools will search within the full text of the information source. Think about your ideal article, book, etc. What terms might the used to describe the subject of the item you're looking for?
This example will look for the words "global warming" as a phrase in Academic Search Complete. No Boolean operators are being used.
Click the AND tab at the top of this box to read about AND.
Use AND to connect two different concepts.
In this example, I am interested in the impact of global warming on penguins, so I am interested in articles that contain both the terms global warming and penguins.
By connecting my search terms with AND, I get fewer articles because I only get articles that contain information about both of these topics.
Note: It is good practice to always put Boolean operators in all capital letters.
Use OR to connect similar terms.
Once you get the hang of combining two search terms, you can use combinations of search terms to create more complex searches.
In this example, I want to know about the impact of global warming on two different animals, penguins and polar bears. I put parentheses around penguins and polar bears to group them.
This search will get me articles about global warming and penguins, articles about global warming and polar bears, and articles about all three.
You can also use the advanced search to combine terms, like this: