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EDUCATION: Academic Inquiry

The Research Process: A Map

Research is not a linear process. Research requires repetition of the same processes--utilizing background information, developing a research question, collecting evidence--in order to eventually define and develop a research question that is significant and manageable.  

(Process chart courtesy of A.Carr, 2011)

From Topic to Research Questions

                                                                      

Learn more about narrowing a topic and developing a research question.

The Information Cycle

Search Strategies

These search tips can be used in Library search systems:

First, generate a set of terms related to your topic.
 

education            reform                                       democracy

curriculum           change                                     citizen             

philosophy          educational accountability   justice                                                                

education* AND (democra* OR citizen*) : Use the AND operator to narrow your search to results that mention both keywords.  Use the OR operator to search for variants or synonyms of the same keyword.  The asterisk (*) is a wildcard symbol that is used to catch variant endings of a word.

“educational reform” OR "educational change" : Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase.

Does the information source fit my assignment?

Information Need Sources to Consult Search Tools & Help
Overview of Topic
  • Encyclopedias
  • Handbooks
  • Ask a librarian
  • Search Primo (Limit by Resource Type: Reference Entry)
Definitions
  • Dictionaries
  • Handbooks
  • Ask a librarian
  • Search Primo (Limit by Resource Type: Reference Entry)
Primary Sources (first hand or contemporary accounts)
  • Books
  • Digital archives
  • Magazines & newspapers
  • Videos
Secondary Sources (comprehensive and/or detailed analyses)
  • Journal articles
  • Books
  • Some magazines & newspapers
Facts
  • Dictionaries
  • Almanacs
  • Statistical Handbooks
  • Ask a librarian
  • Search Primo
Current Events, Popular Culture
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Video
Historical Information
  • Books
  • Digital archives
  • Magazines & newspapers
  • Film
Evaluative Sources
  • Book reviews
  • Film/video reviews
  • Ask a librarian
  • Search Primo
  • Use How Do I? search