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Research and Information Literacy

Start Your Research.

Articulate your inquiries and ideas.

Research-Writing Tips

Read- do plenty of background reading when seeking sources; consult scholarly journals and search titles from scholarly presses.

Passion- enthusiasm about a topic will make everything easier. In order to avoid boredom and fatigue, seek ways to make your assignments relevant and your topics exciting. Tap and perpetuate your curiosity! 

Cite- keep a list of bibliographic notes (citations) for potential relevant sources as you discover them. Finalizing these sources will come as you write.

Outline- draft an outline to organize and/or visualize your topic themes and thoughts. Adjust your scope by considering categorical priorities and analogies - or by doing more background research.

Archives- consult archives and search for primary sources related to your research topic.

Thesis- articulate your inquiries and informed perspectives. Be prepared to defend them. 

Simplify- render complex ideas and inquiries into clear, confident, and concise language.

Search vs. Research

From McMaster University Library

Background Research

  • Brainstorm and search keywords and synonyms (for catalog/databases).
  • Get familiar with the language used by experts in the field.
  • Use reference sources (mind maps, encyclopedias, almanacs, glossaries, indices, bibliographies, and dictionaries) to build a working knowledge through quick facts, summaries, descriptive metadata, and related subject headings. 
  • Use research sources to write your papers. Reference materials only provide the basic facts and overview of a topic, and not original research. For finding and discovering scholarly publications (with original research), you will need to rely on the catalog, databases, or LibGuides.

Note: To save time and stress, keep bibliographic notes (citations) for all potential sources as you investigate your topic.