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Getting Started On Research

 

Formulating a thesis

What you can do:

  • Start with a broad topic area (this might already be decided for you as a requirement of a course) and narrow this down to select a specific topic for your paper so that you don’t waste time wading through too much information.
  • The purpose of your paper will vary with the subject matter, but any paper will include a thesis. The thesis or statement of intent needs to be clearly stated so you are focused in your research and when writing your paper.

How the Library can help:

 

Finding research to support your thesis

What you can do:

  • Data to support your thesis can be gathered from a variety of sources, including books and journal articles. To find journal articles related to your thesis, you'll need an index, which will provide you with citations to periodical articles.
  • There are also other sources that might be helpful, depending on your topic. Have you thought about finding a biography for a key player in obituaries or Who’s Who publications? Have you searched for diaries, correspondences, and other types of primary sources?
  • If you are using the internet for research, it is especially important to evaluate the accuracy and authority of the information you find there. Learn more about evaluating information on the web.

How the Library can help:

  • Research guides are prepared by subject librarians and are excellent resources for finding subject-specific materials.
  • The library catalog is the tool you use to find books, journals, and other materials located in the library. Books and other materials are organized by codes referred to as call numbers. To find a book using the call number, try this guide: using call numbers to find a book.
  • Drexel University has over 500 electronic databases for searching a wide range of topics. To determine which are best for your research, check the research guides or browse the databases by subject areas.

Citing your sources

What you can do:

  • A style guide or publication manual is a reference tool that lays out the format you should use when writing your paper. Be sure to use the correct style guide—your professor will be the best person to help you make your choice. You will probably use the style guide preferred by the organizations in your professional area.
  • Please remember: Plagiarism is cheating and cheating is unacceptable. Take pride in your work and give credit where credit is due.

How the Library can help:

When you're ready to write

  • The Drexel University Writing Center offers support for all types and stages of writing, including support for capstone projects and dissertations. Check out the Writing Center for more details.

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