Now you have a working research question and you have likely visited your library to seek help from a reference librarian. Ideally, you have also found a faculty mentor in your discipline who can help you through the research process. You are beginning to collect sources and now have to determine what to do with those sources. You will need to ask yourself:
This page will help you begin to answer some of these questions.
“Use peer reviewed sources!” If you have worked on a research paper in the past, you probably have heard this mandate. But what is peer review? How does it work? And how do you know if your sources are peer reviewed? The items in this box offer definitions of peer review and information on how to recognized peer reviewed sources. Be sure to talk to your research mentor to identify strategies for finding peer reviewed work in your field.
Journal articles are one common type of scholarly source among many. Learning about their features will help you read them effectively. Watch this video for more information.
Here are more tips on how to best read an academic article—a different reading strategy than you might be using now.
Many students are trained to identify key terms related to a project and use database searches to find sources. Although this is one feasible search strategy, even a refined search can yield an overwhelming number of results.
Add a new approach to your search strategy: what some call “the breadcrumb method” or “bibliography mining.”
Professional research writers are not given a minimum or maximum number of sources to use in a project. So how do they know when they have enough scholarly support for their work? Here are a few tips: