It’s never too early in the semester to develop great research habits. The library is here to help you develop the skills you need to ace all your papers and projects this semester. Here are our recommended Research Resolutions.
I will use scholarly sources.
When writing academic papers or projects, your professor may ask you to use “scholarly” or “peer-reviewed” resources. Scholarly sources are written by experts in their field and are, thus, considered reliable sources of information. Additionally, scholarly sources undergo a process where the work contained in the source has been reviewed for accuracy before it is published. This means they are more trustworthy than information you might find through Google, Wikipedia, or elsewhere on the internet. When you search the library’s online catalog or databases, you can limit your search to scholarly and peer-reviewed resources.
I will evaluate sources.
Not every source you find is appropriate for your assignment. Whenever you find a resource you think it useful for your project, you should evaluate it to see if it passes the CRAAP test.
Currency: The timeliness of the information. How recent is the information in the source? Does your topic require recent information or historical information?
Relevancy: The importance of the information to your needs. Does the information relate to your topic? Can you use the information in the source to support your argument?
Authority: Where does the information come from? Who are the authors of the source and do they have expertise on the subject? What are the author’s credentials? Where is the information coming from? Information from educational, organizational, or government websites can be more reliable than information found elsewhere on the Internet.
Accuracy: Is the information reliable, truthful, and correct? How does the author support their argument? Can you verify the information in the source with information from another source? Has the source been verified and reviewed by other experts in the subject? Is the source free from spelling, grammar, mathematical, or other errors?
Purpose: What is the reason this source exists? Is the source meant to educate and inform or is it meant to entertain or sell a product? Who is the intended audience? Does the author make their intentions, sponsors, and research process clear? Does the author acknowledge biases or privileges?
The CRAAP test can be used on everything you find. It will help you to determine if the article, book, or website you want to cite in your assignment is appropriate. You can download the CRAAP Test rubric for evaluating resources here.
I will cite my sources.
We use citations for several reasons. First, citations help you avoid plagiarism by giving credit where credit is due. Citations should be used whenever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize an argument you find in a source. Citations are also how you acknowledge where the support for your paper or project comes from. When you cite, you are helping those who read your assignment find the original sources you used. Additionally, it shows your professor that you followed proper research and academic procedures.
If you want to learn more about different citation styles or how to cite a resource, we recommend using Purdue OWL.
I will outline my paper.
Unfortunately, papers don’t write themselves. You can set yourself up for success by taking some time to outline your paper first before you sit down to write the whole thing. First, list out the major components and/or arguments of your paper. Then, under each component you can list the individual points that support that part of your paper. This is also where you can list quotes and sources that you want to use to support your argument.
A great reason to outline your paper is that it allows you to see where you might need to do more research. It also helps you structure your argument in a way that makes sense and flows naturally. Plus, it’s usually easier to write your paper when you have a structured outline to work from.
I will not wait until the night before to start my paper.
One of the best things you can do is start your assignments early. NEVER wait until the night before to start your paper. Not only will you be rushed to complete it, but you also will not leave yourself enough time to properly research your topic.
Time management is both an academic and life skill so it’s important to start planning out your assignments as soon as you get them. If your paper is due in a month, put that date in your calendar and then add milestone dates to encourage you to work on your assignment early. The more time you give yourself to complete research, the more complete your assignment will be and the easier it is to write. Plus, you will be less stressed in the days before the paper is due.
In order to help you with these resolutions, the library has created a book display to help you with each resolution. The exhibit will be outside the library until February 2019.
Good luck this semester!
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