Topic: Library Research Project
The purpose of this assignment is to build written communication skills, and understand how to cite
sources correctly for college-level research papers. You will be using several types of references, and
will need to complete information related to a chosen topic. You will be creating an outline of your paper,
and submitting appropriate references identified here to support your outline. You will NOT be writing a
full paper or submitting the paper for credit.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY AND DEVELOP YOUR TOPIC
SUMMARY: State your topic as a question. For example, if you are interested in finding out about use of
alcoholic beverages by college students, you might pose the question, “What effect does use of
alcoholic beverages have on the health of college students?” Identify the main concepts or keywords in
How to select a topic: Consider…
What are you currently studying?
What are current events that you want to know more about?
What controversial issue do you want to investigate?
Discuss your topic idea s with your class instructor.
Discuss your topic ideas with a reference librarian.
Then, test your topic:
If you are finding too much information and too many sources, narrow your topic by using the and
operator: beer and health and college students, for example.
Finding too little information may indicate that you need to broaden your topic. For example, look for
information on students, rather than college students. Link synonymous search terms with or:
alcoholic beverages or beer or wine or liquor. Use truncation (i.e., alcohol*) with search terms to
broaden the search and increases the number of items you find.
11/11/2020 Library Research Project
You will need to identify a topic, then narrow the topic to a thesis statement. This can be a formal
statement, or pose a question that you seek to answer with supported research.
Broad Topic: Alcoholism
Narrow Topic: A more specific focus on the topic: Alcohol use in college students
Thesis Statement: A point you will try to prove with facts you find: Excessive intake of alcoholic
beverages have a negative impact on the health of college students
*For submission, you’ll need to come up with a broad and narrow topic, a thesis statement, and
five questions that you would like answered about this topic.
STEP 2: FIND BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND CONTEXT
After you identify your research topic and some keywords that describe it, find and read articles in
subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks. These articles will help you understand the context
(historical, cultural, disciplinary) of your topic. They are the foundation supporting further research. The
most common background sources are subject encyclopedias and dictionaries from print and online
reference collection. Class textbooks also provide definitions of terms and background information. For
this step, use Britannica (http://www.britannica.com) for Encyclopedia resources.
For submission, you will need to answer:
What did you discover about this step?
How much background information did you discover?
Will you need to modify / change your topic based on this discovery?
STEP 2: USE CATALOGS TO FIND BOOKS AND MEDIA
SUMMARY: Use guided keyword searching to find materials by topic or subject. Print or write down the
citation (author, title,etc .) and the location information (call number and library). Note the circulation
status. When you pull the book from the shelf, scan the bibliography for additional sources. Watch for
book – length bibliographies and annual reviews on your subject; they list citations to hundreds of books
and articles in one subject area.
You will need to find one book, and one piece of media related to your topic and list the
STEP 3: USE DATABASES TO FIND PERIODICAL ARTICLES
11/11/2020 Library Research Project
SUMMARY: Use periodical databases to find citations to articles. Find and search the databases best
suited to your particular topic. Ask at the reference desk if you need help figuring out which ones to use
or use the library website to browse online databases. If the full text of the article you want is not linked
in the database you are using, write down the citation and search for the title of the periodical.
Periodicals are continuing publications such as journals, newspapers, or magazines. They are issued
regularly (daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly). To find individual periodical articles by subject, article
author, or article title, use periodical databases.
If you need help with this, visit the Golden West Library Website
You will need to find two periodicals book related to your topic and list the appropriate citation.
You may also find your mass – media citation here. You will also need to provide an annotated
bibliography / summary of your article.
STEP 4: FIND ADDITIONAL INTERNET RESOURCES
Nearly everyone is aware of and uses Google and but not everyone uses its branches: Google Scholar,
Google Books, Google News, Youtube. You will be using these to search and find additional information
on the open Internet (as opposed to the subscription – only resources you will encounter in steps 2
through 4 above).
You will need to evaluate the website using the information adopted from the Master Student Textbook
. Be sure you are using a valid and reliable source.
You will need to submit two websites for supporting information on your topic.
You may also find your mass – media citation here.
You will also need to provide an annotated bibliography / summary of your website.
STEP 5: EVALUATE WHAT YOU FIND
SUMMARY: See your textbook for ideas on how to analyze and evaluate web based sources.
Additionally, you can visit:
Georgetown University Library – Evaluating Internet Resources
Cornell University Library – Critically Analyzing Information Sources
UC Santa Cruz Library – Evaluate the quality and credibility of your sources
11/11/2020 Library Research Project
OWL Purdue – Evaluating Sources: Overview
STEP 6: WRITE IT UP!
You will be creating a framework of your paper. Starting with the Topic, create a thesis statement. Using
the GWC Library or other library source, find the information you need on your topic. You will also need
to submit a formatted reference/citation list showing each of the following related to your topic:
One Book Reference
One Media Reference
Two Periodicals (Scholarly Journal)
One mass – media source (magazines, popular books, newspapers)
Two web sources (valid and reliable sites).
Each source should include:
Title of Source
Date of Publication
Place of Publication
Number of pages
Annotated Bibliography / summary of article
YOUR FINAL SUBMISSION NEEDS TO INCLUDE:
What is your broad topic:
What is your narrow topic:
Develop your thesis statement:
Five questions on topic that you would like to have answered:
Each type of source required with source information ( see above).
Formatted resource page listing
Write this up on a word document, and submit in the Exams and Assignments folder under the link for
“Library Research Project”. Be sure your document is properly formatted so that I can open it. See the
homepage for directions on how to save documents if you are not using Microsoft Word products.
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