• Unit 2: Researching: How, What, When, Where, and Why

    If you are already working on a writing project, you most likely are well aware that you often need to start writing to discover all of your ideas about a subject. In this unit, we will take the discovery process a bit further by exploring how identifying, analyzing, and making effective use of others' work can do even more to clarify your viewpoint and refine your thesis.

    We will begin by looking at research as a concept. By now, you should feel a little more comfortable thinking of yourself as a researcher, and you may be anxious to get started. To get you off on the right foot, we will look at how analysis and planning can streamline your research efforts and help you make the best use of your findings. After that, we will dig deeper into the research process itself. Besides learning more about traditional library research methods, you will have a chance to get acquainted with methods for conducting research in person, on your computer, and on the Internet.

    We will also define primary and secondary sources and will look at some of the merits of using both of these types of information. We will spend quite a bit of time reviewing the tools and techniques for researching on the Internet. You will have a chance to explore some of the most useful Internet sites for locating both printed and online information, and you will start to get a clearer idea about where to look for information in specific disciplines and to fulfill specific purposes.

    Finally, we will acknowledge the importance of keeping research well-organized and clearly documented. You will get a chance to practice the best techniques for recording, organizing, and annotating the source information you want to use.

    By the end of this unit, you should have a good understanding of how to carry out your research in an organized, thoughtful manner. You should also have the opportunity to complete much of the preliminary research for your final paper and to identify any information gaps that may require further investigation.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 17 hours.

    • 2.1: Recording and Organizing Your Findings

      Before we will discuss the details of the research process, we will explore some note-taking tools and strategies, so you can begin taking organized notes from the outset of your research.

        • 2.1.1: Note Taking Tools

          Later in this unit, you will learn about several tools to help you organize your research. For now, explore the Evernote, a free and easy tool that allows you to collect and annotate electronic articles easily.

        • 2.1.2: Using a Reverse Outline

          A reverse outline is a great way to summarize an article or book. It is often used as a technique for editing an essay or research paper of your own.

      • 2.2: Getting Started with Your Research

          • 2.2.1: How to Begin Your Research

          • 2.2.2: Investigating Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly Sources

        • 2.3: Reviewing and Evaluating Your Sources

        • Unit 2 Assessment

          • Receive a grade