Getting Started - ASU Mountain Home Campus
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Research Basics


If you have never conducted research at the collegiate level, it would be beneficial to learn some research basics. There are many Web sites that offer primers on beginning research. A few of the most helpful are:
  • Research 101 - excellent tutorial on the basics of research; prepared by the University of Washington Libraries
  • Research Guide - very useful for its sections on Choosing a Topic and Refining a Topic; prepared by Duke University Libraries
  • Writing a Research Paper - covers not only the research process (briefly) but also detailed information on how to go about writing a research paper; available from the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University
Once you understand the research process and are ready to gather information, the Norma Wood Library offers many resources to help you begin your search. In addition to its collection of print volumes and journals, the library also offers access to a wealth of scholarly information online through databases. To find descriptions of the databases, visit the list of library databases. In an effort to make the online resources convenient to students, all library databases are accessible from off-campus by logging in with your student ID. The library has also prepared a tutorial to help you learn to use the different databases. It offers presentations on how to search each database along with search strategies, helpful handouts and other relevant information. The tutorial is available via Blackboard and is free to all currently enrolled ASUMH students. To gain access to this helpful resource, please fill out the Database Tutorial Request Form. If you need help searching for specific sources for your research, the library has prepared a couple of basic primers for your use:
  • Finding Items in the Library - covers searching the library's Online Catalog and locating items on the shelf
  • Finding an Article - covers searching for a specific article or journal and searching for any article on a particular topic
If you are doing research on the Internet -- not through the library's databases -- you should be diligent in evaluating the quality of your Internet resources. While the Internet and the World Wide Web have made it possible for accessing a wealth of information, it is important to keep in mind that almost anyone can publish a Web site. If you are going to include a Web site as a source of information (for instance, when writing a paper), it is important to evaluate the site in light of the following criteria:
  • Authority - Is there an identified author of the site? Are credentials and contact information listed?
  • Accuracy - Can you verify the information on the site?  Are correct grammar and spelling used?
  • Objectivity - Does the site seem to be free of bias? Is it free of excessive advertisements?
  • Currency - Was the site recently updated? Is it relatively free of "dead" links?
  • Coverage - Does the coverage appear to be complete and thorough? Do links complement the site?
For more information on evaluating Internet resources, check out the sites from UC Berkley and Purdue's Online Writing Lab on this subject. When it finally comes time to write your paper, the library offers resources to help you with formatting and citing. If you are having trouble finding information on your topic, please make an appointment to meet with the Reference Librarian, who can help you target your information sources. Call the library at 870.508.6112 or email to schedule a meeting time. In the library, we are here to help you achieve academic success!