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GCC LIBRARY WORKSHOP - The Research Process

Welcome! Video: The Research Process

 Image source: Credo/Literati

1. Conduct PREsearch = Use reference sources to gain background information

Today we'll work with the topic of renewable energy.
Look up "renewable energy" in one of the following reference sources (assigned by the instructor).
Write down 5 new words/concepts + 1 cool fact you learned by reading the reference article.

2. Create research question

The best research questions are ones that...

  • You find personally interesting or important.
  • Address a complex issue or controversial problem.
  • Don't have a simple, obvious answer. The answer is open-ended, considering many possible responses. Such questions often start with the word "How" or "Why."
  • Are not too specific or too broad in scope - they're just right.
    It helps sometimes to narrow your question to...
    • A specific geographical area
      Example question: How are renewable energies used by California homeowners?
    • A specific social group
      Example question: How can college students pursue careers related to renewable energy?
    • A subtopic
      Example question: How are renewable energies regulated by government agencies?

Write down a research question that relates to the topic of renewable energy. If you can't think of one quickly, then consider using:

"How could California use hydroelectric power as a bigger source for its energy needs?" 

3. Search for information & evaluate what you find

First - Brainstorm useful search terms & related concepts. Consider synonyms, more broad concepts, more specific concepts, alternate spellings, slang terms, and/or scholarly terms.

Then - Use a library database to find articles or a library catalog to find books. Today, we'll use a helpful all-purpose database called Academic Search Premier. Answer questions on the provided worksheet (see below) about what you find and how you could change/improve your search strategies.

Wrap-up: What did you learn today? Please complete a short Post-Quiz.

Workshop Handout

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