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Research & Writing: Research Overview

Help with writing and conducting research, including resources for starting your research

Resources

How to Read a Text Critically - From Harvard Library, this provides a step-by-step guide on how to read a text critically. Following these steps will help you to absorb more information for a longer period of time.

Evaluating Your Sources

Not all of the information on the internet is reliable. Some things to think about: 

  • Who is the author? Do they have a background or education in the topic?
  • Where is it published? Is the site reputable?
  • Does it cite its sources? Information isn't created in a vacuum; does it acknowledge others' research?
  • How in-depth is the information? Is it well written?
  • Can you detect a bias in the writing? What is that bias?
  • When was it written? Does the age of the information make a difference in how accurate it is?

Some good places to find reliable information:

  • Museum websites
  • Educational sites (.edu or Khan Academy/smarthistory, etc.)
  • Government sites (.gov)
  • Reputable news sources (New York Times, Washington Post, etc.)
  • Primary sources (artist interviews, etc.)

For more information, see the guide on Evaluating Information (including images).

Doing Your Research

The research process is not a straight line - it can twist and turn as you discover intriguing facets of a topic (such as subject terms used to describe an article). This is part of the process and a good thing - a research topic that interests you is easier for you to write about and makes your paper more engaging for readers. Don't be afraid to follow up on information you come across that interests you.

Additional tips:

  • Be willing to tweak your vocabulary - authors may use different words that mean the same thing (i.e. car, vehicle, automobile, etc.)
  • Read article abstracts to ensure they will work for your paper - don't just grab the first articles that include your search terms

Rooftop Studio by Rudolf Schlichter, 1920
 
College for Creative Studies website