This guide will help you get started with research for your WRTG 105 class. Feel free to contact your librarian for additional help!
River Campus Libraries provides access to over one million e-books covering a large variety of disciplines and publishers. Because our e-books are available through different databases and websites, the easiest way to find an e-book in UR’s collection is to start on the library's homepage and choose "Library Catalog Only" from the dropdown box.
To narrow your search to e-books, choose the Available online, Books, and Book chapters filters from the options on the left-hand side of your results (Show Me)...or use the search box below.
The library also has several collections of e-books that are worth searching in for your topic. While books in these collections are pulled into all of our catalog searches, relevant titles can sometimes get buried within thousands of results. Try searching these databases directly for e-books on your topic:
Ask yourself what type of source is more likely to have the information you need and how will I use this source?:
Deciding the most likely source will help determine which database to use. Different databases are composed of information from different types of sources. BEAM is a method for helping you decide how you might use a source.
Ask yourself if the database you select provides full-text, or only citations and /or abstracts:
Understand the scope of the database you select. Ask yourself:
Although retrospective materials are sometimes added to databases, the actual article you need might not be available electronically, because it is too old or too new.
Ask yourself if there are special advanced features that can improve your search results or make searching easier:
You can ask yourself questions about Timeliness, Relevance, Authority, and Purpose to evaluate a source of information. First, choose the source you want to evaluate. Then, go through each of the questions below.
Brainstorming - step by step
Write what you know - what you’re curious about - don’t edit yourself! Terms that you know, researchers? Any more specific areas you might focus on -
Pre-research: Where do you get ideas for the right kind of terms? Wikipedia, google, news, friends? Take a few minutes to look around. If you like google, fine - just remember, we’re just getting the landscape. Try to think of some source that you have some trust in with respect to your topic.
First pass at narrowing your topic
Who - can you narrow the group?
Where - can you narrow the place?
When - can you narrow the time frame?
How - can you limit to a particular methodology/effect?
(If your research question/topic is super-specific - you can use these to broaden it a little, too.)
Using Articles and Books as brainstorming tool.
www.library.rochester.edu (first tab: Articles & Books)
What we’re not doing quite yet: looking for 10 pdfs to download and read. (We’ll get there, I promise)
We’re going to start by seeing what’s happening in the field *right now* - we’ll put some search terms in, and then use the filters:
Publication date (try “Last 12 months”)
Use the “Preview” link to read the abstract, subject headings, etc.
Not finding what you want? Try changing the search terms - you might be discovering new terms as you look.
Finding a few “starter” articles
Your research question should be getting a little more focused now. Find one or two articles that look promising. Open them up, and we’ll take a moment to think about how these might help us find more relevant research.
Author, journal, keywords
Lit review, introduction, background
Conclusion: areas for future research
Works Cited/ Bibliography/References
Is there one article cited that you like that’s more than 2 years old? Let’s see if anyone else has cited that article: scholar.google.com
Now, you have a few articles, and you might find you need to go through parts of this again as your ideas change and develop. Have a strategy and remember that I’m here to help with that!
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Eileen Daly-Boas, University of Rochester.
I wish to honor and express my gratitude to the Indigenous peoples who cared for the lands where the majority of this guide was developed. I acknowledge that the lands that UR inhabit are the unceded ancestral territory of the Seneca Nation, known as the Onöndowa'ga or “Great Hill People” and “Keepers of the Western Door” of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy whose loss of lives, culture, knowledge, stories, and experiences are a part of Rochester, New York State, and U.S. history. May we all work collectively to combat the continued erasure of indigenous lands, life, and knowledge. For more information on how you can support preservation efforts visit ganondagan.org and senecamuseum.org.