1. To start, circle the three most important ideas in your topic questions from How Do I Begin?, from the subheading “In Depth Research.”
- List all the words or phrases you can think of that describe each idea especially synonyms, unique words or distinctive names.
- List broader terms relating to your topic.
- List societies, organizations, or groups that may have information on your topic
- Think again about background information that might be helpful
- Combine your search terms using search strategies such as Boolean Searching and Proximity Operators, Phrase Searching, Truncation and Nesting
2. Make sure you select the resources that match or are appropriate to you search:
The standard format for publishing information that allows in-depth examination of a subject. Scholarly books are based on fact and arguments of other scholars as noted by the use of various citations.
Publications that are published on an on-going schedule such as weekly, monthly, quarterly.
Important part of research that publishes new original or in-depth analysis of specialized topics written by experts in the field as well as reviews of recently published books. Articles will have specialized vocabulary of that field and will include certain documenting research.
Published articles on current trends or news for a general audience. They are usually written by a journalist rather than a subject specialist. Information is seldom documented.
Published articles demonstrating how research on a specific product was applied in a field. Authors are often employed in the specific field, are knowledgeable and frequently supply documentation.
These documents represent surveys, hearings and other reports produced by various branches and departments of a government.
Includes such items as audio tapes, videos, DVDs; useful for illustrations and examples. May or may not be documented depending on type and producer.
Articles are current news with national or local focus. Written by journalists and are useful for eyewitness reports, obtaining local perspectives or interviews on current trends.
Wide range of information varying in quality. Useful for locating current news, information on organizations and opinions. Not reviewed by any outside source or publishing body. Should be evaluated carefully to determine legitimacy.
3. Make sure you cite all your sources correctly. We all know how important it is to accurately communicate where you find any information used in papers or presentations. We want you to be free from plagiarism, a serious problem. We want you to know EXACTLY what to do so that you are successful at citing sources.
Here’s how it goes: if information has power, then it’s valuable. The law protects that value through copyright use. When you research, you MUST BE AWARE of these terms and your responsibilities. Copyright exists to protect the creators of original work, but as a student you can make use of this information needed for research and writing through the concept of fair use.
What is copyright?
- Copyright is a privilege that grants the creator of a work several rights, including the right to copy the work.
- If a work is copyrighted, only the holder of the copyright (usually the author or publisher) can grant permission to copy the work.
- Copyright covers all kinds of works, including books, articles, software, websites, videos, cassettes, music and lyrics.
What is fair use?
- Under the fair use provision of the law, students and others may copy portions of a work without permission.
How much may I copy under fair use?
- Generally this involves short excerpts for the purposes of review or criticism. The law does not state exact amounts, but in general, use as little as you can to meet your needs.
- Copying an entire work is not necessarily a violation of copyright, but as a rule of thumb you should avoid copying anything in its entirety.
- Copying a whole book from a library because it is too expensive to buy is clearly wrong; copying a short poem in its entirety in a research paper is probably covered under fair use providing that is it properly cited.
Is everything covered under copyrighted?
- While not every work is copyrighted, most things are.
- The absence of an explicit copyright notice is not sufficient indication that a work is not copyrighted. In fact, just the opposite: unless it clearly says that it is not copyrighted assume that it is.
- The only exception is that after a certain amount of time, copyrighted works fall into public domain, which means the work may be copied without permission.
What about the Internet?
- The content of websites, e-mail, postings to newsgroups, and any other kinds of information your may find on the Internet are all copyrighted unless it specifically says otherwise.
- This includes pictures that are a part of websites as well as the text.
How much time has to pass before an item falls into the public domain?
- The amount of time varies, depending upon when it was originally created, published and/or copyrighted.
- In general:
- items from before the twentieth century (1900s) are public domain
- works published in the early decades of the twentieth century may be in the public domain, and
- most everything from the mid twentieth century forward is probably not in public domain yet
So how do I use someone else’s work in my paper?
- When you do use an excerpt from an existing work, whether is it copyrighted or not make sure to indicate that you are in fact quoting from another author’s work by enclosing the excerpt in quotation marks.
- In general, if the quote is four or more words it requires the use of quotation marks (although shorter quotes may sometimes also warrant quotation marks).
- Be sure to include the full bibliographic information for the source of the quote. (see page on Citing resources)
- This process is called citing and it protects you from charges of plagiarism.
- For more information on citing sources see the MLA Handbook or the Manual for Writing Research Papers by Turabian
What is plagiarism?
- Plagiarism is when you claim credit for the work of another. It is a form of intellectual theft and academic dishonesty. We take this seriously at Laurel U.
- At best plagiarism could result in a failing grade on the paper in question, at worst it could result in being tried for violation of the copyrights law (for those works under copyright). Some graduate schools will dismiss students from a program who have committed plagiarism. Our Student Handbook describes how we deal with it on page 52.
- Plagiarism is not just an academic issue. Church newsletters, sermons, and anything else you write can be guilty of plagiarism if you do not properly cite your sources.
Copyright exists to protect the creators of original work, but through the concept of fair use also helps to insure that you, as a student, can make use of the information you need for your research and writing. The following are a couple of resources that may help give you a clearer picture of what copyright means for you:
You can find the most complete guide to the MLA guide for citing sources at: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/03/. Other styles are also available through this site as well.