Guest post by Graciella Dean, Reya Rana, Sophia Boulbol-Baker, and Marco So
Keeping Track of What You Have Used
Sometimes after searching through what seems like endless research articles and course readings, it’s difficult to remember what you have looked up and decided to include in your paper. The best thing I have found is to create a document solely for listing the sources you have searched and included.
Start a document with the title of your project at the top, then separate it into sections, such as I have done in the screenshot of my own document. After you have done this, each time you search a source on a database or a reading from your class and decide to include it, fill in the rest of the document. Make sure to add in the date you accessed such articles, as well as where you found them. Below is a picture of what my document looks like now that I have done this.
With this method, the goal is to have all your sources in one place that you can refer back to when creating your works cited, so you don’t forget about any one of your sources or where you found them, the author, etc. Good luck!
Tips on Finding Relevant Research
To begin with, make sure you have a strong idea for your paper with a definite goal and method.
Narrow down your keywords and concepts from your research question. Here is a picture for reference from one of our own projects.
Try to find multiple sources relevant to your topic that are from a diverse range of authors. It is best to look for sources with a variety of perspectives in order for you to see what direction you really want to take with your research paper.
Although it is not a scholarly source, Wikipedia can be a good place to gain the basic foundation for what it is that you are researching, and then take a look at the sources they have cited.
A good source for reputable research articles is your institution’s library; UBC uses Summon for retrieving research articles from its databases. Check Google Scholar. Look at the works cited list of your previous sources to find relevant work.
Make sure to support any contestable claim with relevant research. To assess whether the research you find is from a reliable source, use the CRAAP test:
- Currency: Is the information recent or current? When was it last updated? Is it recent enough for your topic?
- Reliability: What is included in the information? Is it opinion based content or peer reviewed?
- Authority: Who is the author and are they reputable?
- Accuracy: Are the findings supported by the evidence provided? Has the paper been reviewed or referred?
- Purpose/point of view: Are there any biases?
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