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Key tips to help you evaluate resources to find the most accurate and relevant information sources for your research topic.

Research Topic

Have you chosen your research topic yet? Is it too broad? Too narrow?

Here are some ways you can get started:

Consider your topic in terms of keywords. If you're researching U.S. food culture, for example, what are words/topics related food? Agriculture? Animals? Corn? Obesity? Chicken? Rural? Kroger? If your topic still seems broad, think about an area in which you might personally be interested. 

Once you've gathered the keywords that are most relevant to your topic, you can start plugging them into your search. For example, you might have narrowed down your topic to exploring conditions for animals at dairy farms in Kentucky. A typical search in Google using related keywords might look like: dairy farms AND conditions AND Kentucky. For a similiar search in Academic Search Premier (located here), use the keywords in the Advanced Search boxes and categorize them appropriately (as subject, title, keyword, or all text).

If you feel as though you're not getting as many results as you would have expected, play with the keywords or adjust certain details, like year or geographic area. Limiting the search to date and geographic area is also useful if you have gotten too many entries. This can also be helpful if you want to limit your results to Transy-owned items only.

Remember while searching online that just because a link or PDF was not available in the database, it does not mean that it is not available at the library. Occasionally there will be items that are only available in print or are only available for a certain number of years. Check here to be sure. If the item is not available at the library online or in print, the next step is Interlibrary Loan.

Welcome to Resource Evaluation

Never before in our culture has there been so much information available to so many people so quickly. It would seem that with the click of a button or a few phrases in a search engine, that all the knowledge you would need is available in a digital format. This is a guide intended to help students navigate this deluge of data to find the pieces that not only the most accurate, but also the most relevant to the topic. The guide is also designed to help make information searching more efficient. It's much easier to find what you need if you can quickly sift through resources and figure out what is legitimate and what is not.

Use the tabs at the top of the page to find out about resource evaluation for online resources, books, journals, and news media. There is even a section you can use to test yourself to make sure you understand the concept before you begin your research.

Choosing a Topic - Prezi

Library Instruction on Digital Research for First-Year Seminar

Subject Guide

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Helen Bischoff
Transylvania University Library
300 N. Broadway
Lexington, KY 40508-1797

Google Scholar Search

Transylvania University Library Catalog