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GETTING TO KNOW YOUR TOPIC
What do you already know about the topic?
Who cares about your topic?
- Who cares about your will help you figure out what type of research they do. (scientists will perform experiments, doctors may run a randomized controlled trial, a professor might write a literature review, etc)
- Once you figure the type of resources someone who cares about your topic would create, you can then determine where you will find these resources. (scholarly articles can be found in databases, news articles can be found online, etc)
How is your topic portrayed in the media?
- Is this a hot-button issue that folks have very differing opinions about?
- Has your topic been unfairly criticized or wrongly portrayed in the media?
Who has access to information about your topic?
- How do everyday folks know about it? Are they getting their information solely based on mass media?
- Misinformation and fake news are symptoms of a lack of access to quality information. (Think of this as an information desert)
What gaps have you noticed in the research? What's missing? Who's missing?
- This is where your research question can start. How can you address the gap?
Opposing Viewpoints This link opens in a new window
Opposing Viewpoints In Context is the premier online resource covering today’s hottest social issues, from capital punishment to immigration, to marijuana. This cross-curricular research tool supports science, social studies, current events, and language arts classes. Its informed, differing views present each side of an issue and help students develop information literacy, critical thinking skills, and the confidence to draw their own valid conclusions. View tutorial:
A Dictionary of Geology and Earth Sciences by This leading dictionary - now in its fourth edition - offers wide-ranging and authoritative coverage of the earth sciences and related topics in over 7,500 clear and accessible entries. This new edition has been fully updated and 150 new entries added, with expanded coverage of geology and planetary geology terms. Over 130 line drawings accompany the definitions. It is essential for students of geography, geology, and earth sciences, and for those in relateddisciplines.
Call Number: Ref. QE 5 .D55 2013
Publication Date: 2013-08-01
A Color Atlas of Rocks and Minerals in Thin Section by A Color Atlas of Rocks and Minerals in Thin Section is a clear and accessible introduction to the use of thin sections in the study of Petrography--the scientific description of rocks. Illustrated with a wealth of full color thin section photographs the book explains how to observe mineral and rock samples under the microscope. It covers all covers all rock types--igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic--with equal emphasis and authority, providing the student with an excellent overview of the subject. Each photograph, specially produced for the book, has been chosen to instruct the beginner and offer valuable resource material to the teacher and lecturer of geology. As well as being a useful teaching and learning tool, the atlas is a concise reference and review of rock and mineral identification.
Call Number: Ref. QE 434 .M33 1994
Publication Date: 1994-03-22
Ocean by Detailing a mysterious realm that’s as vital to our existence as the air we breathe, this new atlas immerses readers in the wonders of the deep through more than 250 up-to-the-minute maps, photographs, and satellite images. Deep-sea pioneer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia A. Earle (known as "Her Deepness") and marine scientist Linda K. Glover guide the adventure, in consultation with experts from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration--who welcome the publication of a comprehensive ocean atlas geared to popular readers. The accessible text lays out key concepts, points of interest, and little known facts, opening our eyes to living phenomena from giant squid to tiny microbial bodies. Astonishing full-color photographs and diagrams reveal the beauty and complexity of ocean life. Unprecedented new full spread maps of the ocean floor--hand-drawn by expert cartographers--reveal the five major oceans in astonishing details. An unequaled resource for both education and entertainment, Ocean also explores the progress of fascinating technologies that will help scientists discover uncharted regions and life-forms. In light of recent events--the tsunami of 2004, Katrina and Rita of 2005, the growth of the ozone hole--humankind’s link to the ocean is front and center in our lives today. This rich informative, and timely atlas, encourages understanding of how the ocean correlates with these happenings--and how human maintenance of its waters and creatures will keep the planet going.
Call Number: Ref. G 2800 .E24 2009
Publication Date: 2008-10-28
WHAT THE HECK AM I LOOKING AT?
Sometimes it can be challenging and confusing to tell the difference between scholarly, peer-reviewed articles and popular articles. I often tell students that if it 'looks boring and sounds boring' it is more than likely a scholarly article!
Once you see a few scholarly articles you will see that they share a look and feel that is very different than magazine articles you might be used to reading.
Scholarly Journals/Articles are:
- written to inform, report, or make available original research to the rest of the scholarly world
- written by and for scholars or researchers in a specific subject area or field
- always going to cite their sources as footnotes, endnotes, or reference lists (bibliographies) at the end of the article
- full of terminology, jargon, and language specific to the discipline. Readers are assumed to have a similar scholarly background
- oftentimes put through a strict review process by peers within the same discipline (peer-review)
- written with an abstract, a methodologies section, a conclusion, and references list
Popular Articles/Magazines are:
- written to entertain you
- usually short with catchy titles
- written by magazine staff or a free-lance writer
- written WITHOUT cited sources
- written in a language most everyone can understand
- full of photographs, illustrations, and graphics
- full of advertisement meant to entice readers
PRIMARY VS SECONDARY SOURCES
A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study and is the result of original scientific research or observation. Some types of primary sources include:
- Scholarly Journal Articles: an article reporting new and original research or findings written by the original researcher.
- Original Documents: diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, etc.
- Creative Works: poetry, drama, novels, music, art
- Relics or Artifacts: pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings
A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary Sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of secondary sources include:
- Magazine/Journal Articles: articles which interpret or review previous findings, or which present findings in way more accessible to the general public. They are not written by the original researcher.