Helpful starting points for gathering background information on a topic:
These types of sources are good starting points. Next, you'll need to use journals, books, magazines, and newspapers to find in-depth, reliable sources that support your topic.
Some assignments may require you to use scholarly sources.
It helps to propose a question when you're starting your research. Then, you can apply limiters that help make your topic more specific.
Examples of limiters:
Also, you can use drop-down menus to specify that your search terms will appear in the title of the article, in the abstract, or maybe as keywords anywhere in the document.
Applying limiters helps to make your search more effective.
Example question: What are some examples of successful projects introducing alternatively fuelled mass transportation vehicles in the past five years in North America?
Time period: the past five years
Location: North America
Population: public transportation agencies & services
The resources and tools we use for doing research have changed significantly during the past 5-10 years, but the general principles of the research process are consistent.
1. Identify and develop your topic
2. Find background information
3. Use catalogs to find books and media
4. Use indexes (databases) to find periodical articles (journals, magazines, newspapers, conference papers)
5. Find internet resources
6. Evaluate what you find
7. Cite what you find using a standard format
(Adapted from Olin Library Reference
Research & Learning Services
Cornell University Library
Ithaca, NY, USA [http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/skill1.htm] Accessed March 8, 2011.)
Choosing an interesting research topic is your first challenge. Here are some tips:
Source: MIT Libraries, Selecting a Research Topic. Retrieved from http://libguides.mit.edu/content.php?pid=36716&sid=270173, 1/25/2012.
Many students who are working on a design project or other serious research may eventually file for a patent. All students, faculty, and staff should be aware of intellectual property issues and how it may affect their research.
Intellectual Property (IP) is described as "creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce." (from http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/)
Lots of researchers keep a laboratory notebook which logs important notes, discoveries, and thoughts about the work and research process. This notebook will be especially useful in the future in the event there are any questions about the origins of a patent.