The following are suggested steps to take when conducting research for an assignment.
(This serves as a brief overview of the research process. See "How to do research for a college paper" for more detailed information.)
The very first step to conducting research is to know your assignment. For many people, this may seem logical but often times students fail to understand what is expected of them.
- Pay attention to specifics details regarding Topic selection (example - Can you pick any topic?)
- Do I need to get my Topic approved?
- How many and what sources can I use? Is there any other criteria on sources such as age of source and/or peer-reviewed?
Depending on whether you are allowed to pick your own topic or you pick one from a list given by the instructor, try to pick a topic that interests you.
Once you have a topic, jot down anything you might know currently about your the topic. Brainstorm ideas of what about the topic you might want to write about (example: human cloning, ethics).
The notes you jotted down and the brainstorming of ideas will assist you in identifying keywords to be used when researching in the library. Make note of potential keywords based on your topic. (keyword examples: "human cloning" "ethic" "laws")
Make sure to know what type of sources (books, articles, etc.) that are allowed for your assignment and if the sources should have any limitations (age of source, peer-reviewed, etc.).
Find Books & eBooks using the Library Catalog. (To see all available books, regardless of formatting, sign-in to your library on the top right of screen with the TTC login.)
- See the "Books & eBooks" tab on the left menu
Find Articles use the TTC Library Databases. You can find all the databases available at "Databases A-Z." (Tip: Click on the drop down menu listed as "All Subjects", select "Psychology." This will provide you with suggested psychology databases.)
- See the "Articles/Databases" tab on the left menu
What happens if you are not getting the results you need from your searches?
1) Is your search not coming up with what you need? Look over articles coming up on your results list to see what kind of information is coming up? (You can get hints about what part of your search is not working by looking at the results list.)
2) Refine your search keywords (try using words that are similar, use words that might have appeared in your results that might be applicable to your topic if search with other keywords)
3) Still stuck? - Contact the library using 24/7 chat, appointments, and more. (See the "Get Help!" tab on the top menu of this screen for options available for assistance)
Found a source but now what....
1) Make sure that the source is allowed (date, peer-reviewed, type, etc.)
2) Evaluate your sources if they are good sources (See the CRAAP Test to help with your evaluation)
Sources are good to go and have used the information in my assignment but now what...
1) Make sure to cite the sources you used. (Provide BOTH in-text citations and citations at the end of the assignment)
2) Almost all library databases have a citation tool; however, you MUST CHECK the accuracy of the citation given by the tool. It is your responsibility to turn in accurate citations regardless of what the tool gives you.
An online guide to citing your sources and formatting your paper in APA Format. (7th ed)
An online guide to citing your sources and formatting your paper in MLA Format (8th ed)