Library Research Guide
Effective research requires that you critically evaluate your sources and how you search for information.
Read or examine multiple sources. Explore a topic from different perspectives by locating more than one source on your topic.
Follow the references. Does your source cite references or otherwise indicate where they got their information? If not, why not? If yes, read some of those sources so that you can evaluate their information.
Note: Sources may disagree with each other. This is okay; that disagreement helps us understand a topic. Be concerned when a source is discredited, particularly when the facts presented are disproved or the research process is questioned.
Who is represented? Do you have sources that are written or created by members of the community affected by the issue you are researching? It is not always obvious whether someone is a member of a particular community, particularly when they are writing or creating professionally. More creators are self-identifying in recent years, but this has not always been a safe practice. However, the more intentional you are about seeking out "own voices" in your secondary and primary sources, the more likely you are to include those voices.
Your search terms may bias your search results. Some terms assume an outcome; use of these terms may result in only locating articles that agree with that outcome. These terms include:
Change your search method to change your search results. Increase your search results by:
Identify the scholarly conversation(s). The sources you locate are part of a conversation among researchers and scholars in an effort to better understand writing center practices and theories. Identifying a conversation helps determine what has already been written about a topic and if there are known gaps in our knowledge. The conversation may entail:
Look at how your topic is discussed by other researchers, what language they use to describe it, what experts they reference, what topics they consider related to your topic. Try new searches using these concepts.