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SOCI 366 Social Change and Social Movements: Introduction to Research

This guide provides students with an overview of resources available to assist them in gathering information related to social change and social movements.

Create an EBSCO Account

One of the first things you will want to do upon logging in to EBSCOhost is to set up an EBSCO Account. Features of an EBSCO Account:

  • Create folders to organize your research for courses or projects (folders may be created for each course or project)
  • Save searches (helps you keep track of search terms you have used; databases you have searched)
  • Share folders and research with fellow researchers

Follow these steps to set up an EBSCO Account and Custom folders:

Steps to Research

Please refer to the course syllabus for detailed information regarding projects and assignments. This will help you in defining your research question, and avoiding frustration later.

Step 1: Getting Started : Topic Selection and Definition/Develop a working knowledge of your topic

Refer to encyclopedias, subject-related dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks to gain a broader perspective on your topic and the focus on which you concentrate.

Narrow your topic by looking for the central question/issue.

Step 2: Research Strategy

Develop a list of keywords and phrases that describe your topic

Define the types of information you will need: primary, secondary, or both

Determine which sources will provide the best information: journals articles, books, audiovisual materials, reports, conference proceedings, reference resources, etc.

When you across references intext of the work you are consulting, locate the full reference of the source in the reference list or bibliography, and locate the original source. It is always better to cite the original source, as you are able to determine the context.

Balance your research with a variety of library resources and World Wide Web sources

Consult with faculty, peers, and librarians to expand your research base

Step 3: Evaluation of Information

Now that you have your information sources it is time to evaluate them for authority, credibility, and validity. The following links provide criteria for evaluating content taken from the World Wide Web. The links below item #4 provide some guidance on how to evaluate information on the Web as well as how to evaluate information sources for credibility and reliability.

Determine the relevance of the source to your topic. There is a difference between information being related to and information being relevant to the topic or the approach to the topic that one is taking. How do you determine relevance: Does the information support your argument? Does it provide a foundation for your argument? Does the information support your approach to the topic?

Step 4: Analyzing, Synthesizing, Writing

It is not time to put away your "thinking caps." Draft summaries of the sources you have retained, noting key points, or key quotes that can be used to support your argument. Make sure to document sources according to the appropriate citation style required by your professor or department. Always provide references for ideas that are not your own. Plagiarizing has serious academic and civil consequences. Be aware of copyright restrictions, license agreements, and other laws or policies related to the appropriate and ethical use of information. Now, you can write.

Wikipedia Articles

Wikipedia has come along way since it's advent. However, caution should still be exercised when using information posted in a Wikipedia article. Wikipedia articles are not reliable sources since anyone can alter the content regardless of expertise or bias. However, Wikipedia articles may be used as a source for gaining background information, or looking for additional sources where reliable information may be found. Look for the endnotes and references that may be included at the end of the article. Then, verify the information you found in the article in another source (book or journal article). Information found in Wikipedia articles may be verified through consulting scholarly reference resources, such as CREDO Reference, CQ Researcher, and Encyclopaedia Britannica. An example of both a good and bad Wikipedia article is provided below.

Subject Guide

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Jenny Bruxvoort
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