Steps for effective research:
Determine the broad topic.
Identify related topics associated with the topic by browsing a variety of sources (related topics will help to generate more keywords to use to narrow the search, that is, to make the search results more specific):
Turn your topics into effective search terms.
Some databases supply the AND for you. Read search suggestions or HELP before searching a database.
Or combine phrases, using the command AND, e.g., “food insecurity” AND “education.”
Identify credible sources, that is, reliable sources.
Browse results of your search at each stage to determine if you have found relevant sources. Retrieved items do not have to be perfect! You can use relevant portions.
Be sure to write down which documents you have used, if you have not made a print out or obtained a copy.
If necessary, modify your search term(s) and try again.
Ask the librarian for help.
When using information, especially, but not only in academic writing, it is important to know if the source is credible, that is, is it believable.
Using Research and Evidence
What type of evidence should I use?
There are two types of evidence.
Regardless of what type of sources you use, they must be credible. In other words, your sources must be reliable, accurate, and trustworthy.
How do I know if a source is credible?
Apply the C.R.A.A.P. test to the information you find:
Be especially careful when evaluating Internet sources! Never use Web sites where an author cannot be determined, unless the site is associated with a reputable institution such as a respected university, a credible media outlet, government program or department, or well-known non-governmental organizations. Beware of using sites like Wikipedia, which are collaboratively developed by users. Because anyone can add or change content, the validity of information on such sites may not meet the standards for academic research.
--From The OWL
[Contributors: Stacy Weida, Karl Stolley]