Searching for Research

This assignment has three parts:

  1. Literature Search Strategies Exercise (1)
  2. Journal Exercises (2)
  3. Research Examples (6)

Literature Search Strategies Exercise (1):

The Assignment: Use from 5 to 10 different search strategies to locate citations from the scholarly literature on your research topic.  Do not include popular magazines, chat sites, newspapers, or miscellaneous Internet rants.  Find information relevant to your research topic in journals, books, and other work by serious scholars. Consult the Literature Search Strategy Exercise  form for detailed instructions.  You should provide the following for each of the 10 citations

    1.  A brief description of the search strategy you used.
    2.  A full academic citation for the source, using a citation form acceptable to your academic discipline. (Click HERE for a guide to citation styles.)
    3.  A brief description of the source you found using the strategy.
    4. Tell how you determined that this was a credible source.
    5. Identify whether the evidence found is reported in the primary, secondary, or tertiary literature and how you determined this. (See the Literature Search Exercise Guide for details.)

NOTE: searching online journal indexes is just one strategy. For example, you can’t treat searching ProQuest and searching JSTOR as two separate strategies, even though they are something different. On the other hand, searching online journals and searching physical journals does count as two strategies, because the latter lets you skim an issue’s Table of Contents—bringing you face to face with articles that an online search would not automatically reveal.

Ten good strategies, well done, earns you an “A”; eight good strategies, well done, earns you at most a “B”; six good strategies, well done, earns you at most a “C”. It takes at least five good strategies, well done, to pass.

Be sure to consult the  one-page handout on 20 Literature Search Strategies (CC).  95kb PDF file, revised 1/16

I highly recommend Mike Caulfield’s “Web Literacy for Students” — an online (open-access) book about fact-checking the Internet.  It helps you separate the gold from the dross.

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 Journal Exercises (2) and Research Examples (6):

The Journal Exercises and Research Examples are essentially the same, except that:

  • Journal Exercises require you to locate research in the paper copies of scholarly journals (available at the Armacost Library).
  • Research Examples let you locate research in either paper or online journals.

The Assignment: Each time this assignment is required, you will locate and summarize an empirical research article from one of the professional journals available through the Armacost Library. This journal can be in any field related to your research topic.

      • The journal must be scholarly.
      • The article must be empirical: it must involve actual research that produces data.
      • Ideally, the article’s topic should match the material we are studying for that week. 

Record the following:

      1. title, author, and bibliographic information (with perhaps a link to the article
      2. a summary of the article, perhaps cribbed from the article’s abstract
      3. the article’s topic and research question
      4. the type of data needed to answer this question
      5. the data-gathering method that the article’s authors used.
      6. the method of data analysis
      7. your evaluation of this research
      8. any aspects of the research that you think will interest your classmates and readers.

Shape this information into a 250-300 word essay.  Your essay should be aimed at ordinary people, not just at your instructor or your classmates.  In good, clear, prose, it should include all of the above information, but it should do so with as much style as you can muster.  I specifically don’t intend you to write short sentences that answer each of the 8 items above.  Instead, shape them into a coherent, communicative whole.

Post this essay on this website’s Course Blog by 6pm on Sunday, so I can review them before Monday’s class.

      • Over the following two weeks, read any comments you receive and respond thoughtfully to those that you find worthwhile.  (You can delete or ignore comment spam.)
      • Please remember that you are creating a public post that reflects both on you and on the University.  Cite your sources and, if possible, link to the journal article you use.  Don’t be surprised if the author responds.

Be prepared to summarize your exercise/example during Monday’s class.

Evaluation:  Click HERE to see a grading rubric for this assignment.

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