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SPEECH: Academic Inquiry

This guide is an introduction to resources useful to speech or debate.

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)

Types of Information Sources and the Cycle of Information

Different types of sources exist. Your research questions will affect the types of sources you'll use. As you watch this video by University of Nevada Las Vegas, Lied Library, consider why, how, and when you'd use these sources in your research:

  • websites, social media
  • newspapers
  • magazine articles
  • journal articles
  • government documents
  • encyclopedias
  • books

Search Strategies

(1) Generate a list of terms, keywords or phrases relevant to your topic or research project 

(2) Combine these terms, keywords or phrases with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) in ways that will produce the most relevant and useful results:

      The AND operator narrows a search and retrieves records containing all of the words

      The OR operator broadens a search and retrieves records containing any of the words

      The NOT operator narrows a search retrieving records that do not contain the word

(3) Consider using wildcard symbols such as the asterisk (*) question mark (?) or colon (:) to expand search terms to include all forms of a root word:

For example, a search using the term politic* will retrieve "politics," "political," "politician" and other forms of the root word

(4) In order to get search results more specific to your topic, find the relevant subject heading. To do this, choose a book from your keyword search in the catalog. Next look in the record under "subject." You should find hyperlinked subject headings that will take you to more books on the same subject.

From Topic to Research Questions

                                                                      

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