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PAID 112 Section 22: Kopf (Spring 2023)



In this guide you will find:

  • Resources and strategies for your section's research unit:
    • Recommended reference sources for background readings
    • Recommended databases for finding scholarly articles
    • Library catalog for finding books
    • Contact information for your librarian

The Perfect Source? Not Likely

Research isn't about finding that one perfect source that makes all the connections for you.

It's about pulling together information that helps you formulate your ideas and make the argument yourself. This video (2 minutes) explains why finding one perfect source isn't feasible, and describes some ways you can be strategic about your searching.

Video posted on YouTube by North Carolina State University Libraries under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license.

Brainstorm Keywords

Use some basic questions to help you brainstorm keywords, or search terms, for your topic.

  • Who is involved? Who is affected?
  • Are there key figures related to your topic?
  • What are the key issues and questions surrounding your topic?
  • Are there key dates associated with your topic? When did major events related to your topic happen? 
  • Are you focused on a particular period of history?
  • Is there a geographic location that is important to your topic? 
  • Can you focus your topic on a particular location?
  • How will you find out about your topic? Do you need primary sources?
  • Is there a particular methodology associated with the kind of research you'll be doing?
  • Why are you interested in your topic? Why should others be interested?

When you have a list of keywords, take a second pass through it and try to come up with synonyms or related terms.

Content © Luther College Preus Library, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101 (563) 387-1166 Creative Commons License
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