Tutorial - Topic Identification and Selection - No matter what your assignment (class discussion, research paper, etc.) you will need to follow guidelines to make sure you are meeting expectations and requirements. This tutorial will help you think through the research process so that you can prepare for and successfully report what you have learned.
ASU Library Resources - Most issues are not universally agreed upon, but the ability to investigate and understand more than one point of view is useful in presenting a convincing argument. Current events or 'hot topics' present rich opportunities for practicing effective communication, but it can be difficult to find sources that objectively provide multiple point of view. The following ASU Library databases provide balanced coverage of differing viewpoints on current topics:
CQ Researcher - A database of in-depth, authoritative reports on a full range of political and social-policy issues extending back to 1923. Each report is footnoted and includes an overview, background section, chronology, bibliography and debate-style pro-con feature, plus tools to study the evolution of the topic over time.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context - Provides materials supporting different points of view on current social issues. The materials include viewpoint articles, contextual topic overviews, government and organizational statistics, biographies of social activists, court cases, profiles of government agencies and special interest groups, newspaper and magazine articles, scholarly articles and links to subject-indexed web sites.
Research questions serve as a guide for the kind of information you need to think about with regards to your assignment/topic.
Tutorial - Finding and Using Background Research - You may be smart, but you don't know everything! Academic disciplines often pull things apart to see how they work, and/or put things together in new and unique ways. These disciplines usually have their own concepts or vocabulary, and common terms have different meanings in different disciplines. While no one expects you to master all of these disciplines, it is important to become familiar enough with the terminology, and understand the concepts enough to demonstrate this knowledge in a discussion or report.
ASU Library Resources - Background research is available in a variety of general and specialized reference sources:
Britannica: Academic Edition - Contains the complete encyclopedia, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, world atlas, timelines, ""This Day in History"" feature, and world data analyst. Includes articles, illustrations, definitions, and links to Web sites selected, rated, and reviewed by Britannica editors.
Gale Virtual Reference Library - A searchable collection of encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.
SAGE Knowledge - An online collection of reference titles from Sage Publications hosting thousands of titles, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.
Generating and Using Keywords - In order to find enough quality resources and better define your research, it's important to search for terms that are similar or related to your original research question. It's also useful to be aware of the specific terms or subjects databases use to describe resources on a particular topic.
Using Search Connectors When Searching Databases - How you search is nearly as important as what you search. Combining keywords or phrases with simple connectors can make this important task much more effective.
600 Databases that range in Subjects from American Indian Studies to Women, Gender & Sexuality, all selected as quality resources which support the academic mission of Arizona State University. While you'll never need to use more than a fraction of these, you could, using the the concepts and search skills covered above. Here are a few of the databases that cover multiple academic disciplines:The ASU Library provides access to well over
Academic Search Premier - A multidisciplinary article database which covers thousands of mostly English-language popular magazines and scholarly (including peer-reviewed) journals. Includes topics in the social sciences, humanities, general science, education and most areas of academic study.
Nexis Uni - Provides full text of selected newspapers worldwide, trade publications, legal periodicals, and legal scholarly journals. Includes company directories, financial reports, quotations, biographies, almanac, federal/state laws, regulations, court opinions, accounting statements/guidelines, and news transcripts.
ProQuest Statistical Insight - Provides statistical information produced by federal and state governments & selected private organizations covering associations, business organizations, commercial publishers, independent research organizations, state governments, university research centers, international non-governmental organizations and international intergovernmental organizations.
Evaluating Resources - There is a lot of information out there, not all of it useful or trustworthy. Shouldn't you really check to see if it is CRAAP ?
Done properly, as part of the research process, citations need not be a difficult task. There are many resources to help guide you:
Citation Styles Library Guide - An overview of several of the most frequently used citation styles as well as access to additional styles used within the scientific disciplines is presented here. Official style guides provide documentation on and examples of how individual associations, journals or publishers format citations, bibliographies and footnotes.
Citation Management Tools Library Guide - Citation management tools are applications used to save and organize your references in a personal database. Using your database of references, you can create citations or lists of references (bibliographies) according to different citation styles, and much more: you can share your research and collaborate with others.