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Research Help

The following steps outline an effective research strategy needed to complete an essay, class presentation, or a term paper in most courses at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Planning Your Research

Research Process flow chart - shows a diagram going from reference material to newspapers to books and then to academic articles

Image from: http://iupui.campusguides.com/startyourresearch/knowledgecycle 

  • learn about primary & secondary sources and how information is created and published.  the a.r.t of Strategy
  • Tutorials from Western University Library - evaluate information, what is a peer-review article, how to read a scholarly journal article, etc.

Online Tutorials

Keyword Self-Quiz (Loyola University) - Keywords are significant words (usually nouns or noun phrases) which can be used as search terms in online catalogs or databases. A keyword search typically searches all or most of these fields.

Take a few minutes to think about your topic. You will need to break your topic down into keywords to search for resources.

  • Analyze your topic for key concepts to use as search terms (keywords).
  • Identify synonyms for your terms, related terms and spelling variations (e.g. marihuana, marijuana, cannabis ), after you have identified the key concepts
  • Use the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT to combine your keywords and to retrieve more relevant results.to enhance your search strategy
  • Focus on key concepts. Don't do a search using a question or a phrase. Eg. Effects of global warming on rising sea levels

Review these helpful power points:

 

Example: "Does using cell phones affect driving behaviour?"

  • Key concepts: cell phones and driving

Remember to use Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT to combine your keywords or synonyms and related terms to retrieve more relevant results.

  • "cell phones" OR "cellular phones" OR "mobile devices" OR texting
  • driving OR traffic OR automobiles OR accidents
  • "cell phones" AND accidents NOT "road rage"

Try this Boolean exercise.

To find background information, overview or context for your topics, use encyclopedias, reference databases, and books. After you identify your research topic and some keywords that describe it, find and read articles in subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks. These articles will help you understand the context (historical, cultural, disciplinary) of your topic.

Find encyclopedias:

Find overview essays:

Find books:

  • Library Catalogue - search for books and media. Excellent overview books: Opposing Viewpoints book series covers current topics.
  • Summon - search entire Library collection (books, media, journal and newspaper articles, book reviews, etc.)

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