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How to Conduct Online Research


									       Presented By:
The Academic Support Center
  Berkeley College Online
   When looking for journal articles,
    monographs, factual information, or high-
    quality resources, the same principles apply:
       Narrow your topic
       Make sure search terms are relevant/focused
       Make sure topics are in alignment
       Examine sources for bias/distortion
       Make sure research provides
        support/background for your argument
   Narrow it down
   Develop a solid thesis
       Room to develop an
   Brainstorm
       Clusters
       Mind Maps
       Concept Maps
       Decision Trees
       Free-writing
   Will help determine
    where to look for info
       Journals
       Subject-specific
       Field-specific databases
   Ex. Writing a essay on an aspect of Hamlet
       You think about characters and interesting
            Ophelia’s speech and subsequent death
                 What is her psychological state?
                 How was she perceived by others in the play?
                 Does her situation illustrate something essential about
                  being human?
          You discover her situation reinforces the overall
           themes of death, madness, murder, and betrayal
          These will help you discover search terms and focus
           your search
   More brainstorming
   List:
       Terms
       Ideas
       Concepts
   Focus on
   Avoid worn-out
   When conducting preliminary research, find
    the major issues that have been in
    discussions about the topic
       Who started the research?
       Who is for it?
       Who is against it?
       Why?
       What are the issues?
   Start researching author names, keywords,
    and topics
   Does it have heavy
   Is it biased?
   Is it reputable?
   How old is it?
   Are there references?
Source                     Description

Refereed Journals          Academic journals require all articles to be reviewed by
                           experts in the field. Require revisions and reject articles in
                           they don’t meet standards.
Books and Serial           Depends on the publisher if they evaluate, judge, and critique
Monographs                 the material.
Series sponsored by an     Common in the humanities.
Wikis and collaborations   Variable quality. They can be extremely good and reliable,
                           but the quality, quantity, depth, and breadth will be variable.
                           There can be bias, distortion, or gaps in information.
Weblogs and                Variable quality. Approach with care and extreme caution.
Source                     Description

Summaries, overviews,, Cliff Notes, Wikipedia is a point of
and study guides           departure. Use them to gain an appreciation of your subject
                           and orient yourself. They can be very imprecise and
Student postings, p2p      Excellent to see how students write papers. Can serve as
downloads of notes, texts, guidelines or cautionary tales.
   Organize so you have a
    sense of where they will go
    in your paper
       Keep your primary thesis in
       Points you are trying to
       Support with evidence from
        research findings and
   Keep track of references
    by creating an “electronic
   Use appropriate style
       MLA, APA
   Write a one-sentence
    overview/summary of the
       How it relates to topic
   9. Update your outline
       Re-examine your thesis
          Does each paragraph help support your thesis?
          How does your research fit?

          Determine where you have gaps or redundancies

   10. Fill in the gaps
       List where you need additional support for your
          Map where you need to fill gaps
          Where your argument needs additional support
Database which contains books, journal articles, magazines, and newspaper articles in the
   humanities and social sciences.

Journals, magazines, and newspapers in humanities, social sciences, education, health and science.

Find Articles
Great database with a few free articles. The journals include business, humanities, social sciences,
    health, and science.
Portal for Time, Discover, Fortune, Sunset, Parenting, People, and more. Archived articles have a
    cost, but it’s a great source for current events and issues.
Databases of articles tailored to meet the needs of students/faculty. Resources are targeted and easy
to use.

EBSCO Information Services
Excellent coverage of interdisciplinary journals. Citations, keywords, and publication data can help
you obtain articles from other sources.

Vast array of databases and information products.

Best-known for its database on legal publications. Has extensive holdings in newspapers. Excellent
source for information and syndicated content.
Wilson Web Databases
Includes journals and publishers that are not always easy to find. Particularly in business and agriculture.

JSTOR: The Scholarly Journal Archive
Amazing collection of humanities and interdisciplinary journals. Older journals are being digitized and
included, resulting in less reliance on interlibrary loan.

Emerald Full-Text
This tends to have a business and management orientation. The journals are excellent, and the interface is
easy to use.

Project Muse
This database originates out of John Hopkins University. The articles are full-text, and they cover
interesting journals in the humanities.

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