Research Strategies

Types of Sources:

Primary sources: These are resources that were created when the event occurred or created by individuals who experienced the event first-hand. Examples of primary sources would be; letters, speeches, diaries, newspaper articles (from the time of the event), interviews (from people who were there when the event happened), photographs, an autobiography or artifacts.

Secondary Sources: These are resources created after an event occurred. Examples of secondary sources would be; history books, textbooks, encyclopedias, magazines (written later), websites, or documentaries.

Finding Information

Where to Look:
In finding information on the internet, remember, there is more out there than just Google. If you are using Google and not finding what you are looking for, Google has advanced search options that you should try to get better results. Click the image below to get to GAS, or go to
google advanced search.jpg

If you are looking for academic sources, you may want to try Google Scholar or Infomine

Google Scholar search.jpg

In addition, we have a great selection of databases available. Using these will return a smaller number of results, which should be more manageable. In addition, the resources that you find using a database will also be from reliable sources, making your need for evaluation less. You will still have to look at these items for both relevance to what you are looking for and sometimes bias.

Advanced Search Techniques
When searching, it is important to plan out your search, but remember to be flexible and as you find new terms or ideas that are relevant to your topic, make adjustments to the way you are searching.

When searching, you need to find the right keywords, and do not type an entire question into the search box! If you are having trouble with your keyword search, consult a reference source on your topic, such as a dictionary, encyclopedia, or even Wikipedia to familiarize yourself on the topic so you know what to search for.

Some other searching tricks to use when searching databases or search engines. These will help you get fewer, but more relevant results:
Phrase Searching
If you are looking for multiple words together as a phrase, you can search for them in parenthesis. ex. "information literacy" By putting the words in quotations, your search results will only include resources where the words appear together.
Boolean Logic
You can include terms in your searches, like AND, OR, or Not
You can use truncation for searching for singular and plural form of a word, or words that can be reduced to a common stem. To do this, put a * at the end of the root word. For example if you wanted to find, cat or cats, you would type cat*
You can replace one or more letters with a * in your search as well, so for example, if you are searching for women or woman, you can type wom*n

Looking for a resource from a specific country, when Googling, use site:xx (xx is the 2 letter country code) to find websites based in those countries. Click here to find the two letter codes.

Be sure to evaluate any resources that you are going to use. For more information on this, visit the Website Evaluation part of this site. When you find sources you are going to use,always cite them! Use Easybib to do this quickly and easily. For help using Easybib, there is information on this website, or see your librarian.

Finally, if you are having trouble and not finding what you need, please stop in the library and ask for help, we will be happy to help you find what you are looking