When selecting the tools you'll use to do your research (databases etc.) and your actual materials (books, journals, etc.), ask yourself the following questions to narrow the selection of choices from the start:
For most papers, especially if you started early with your research, you should expect to have
Ever had a professor tell you that you can ONLY use scholarly sources and nothing else?
Save time by looking first for research materials on your topic at the point where it begins to fit into the flow of information (see table below).
|Type||Time Frame||Depth||Access Points|
|radio & TV; Internet/news service||seconds/minutes||few paragraphs or less|
|newspapers (online)||day(s)||few paragraphs - 1 pg||interdisciplinary database (ProQuest Newspapers, EBSCOhost)|
|popular magazines (online)||week(s)||1-5+ pgs||interdisciplinary database (ProQuest Newspapers, EBSCOhost)|
|academic journals (online)||6+ mos||3-30+ pgs||interdisciplinary database (EBSCOhost)|
|online reference sources (encyclopedias, statistics)||6 mos - 1 yr||1-3+ pgs; overview & background info||Gale Virtual, Brittanica Online|
|books||1+ yr(s)||up to 100 pgs (in depth); extensive||EBSCOhost eBooks, library catalog|
|print reference sources (e.g. encyclopedias)||avg 10 yrs||1-3+ pgs; overviews & background info||library catalog|
Example 1: Event--New driver's license law passed in California.
This is a current issue, so time is the relevant factor in selecting research tools for this topic.
Example 2: Viewpoints--Anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Some types of sources may provide more in-depth and/or scholarly, peer-reviewed coverage than others, so the type of source is the relevant factor for this topic.