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Do Pre-Research to Gather Information First
Before you jump directly into choosing the articles needed for your essay, take some time for pre-research. You'll be glad you did! Pre-research is exactly what it sounds like:
- checking into your topic to get an overview,
- finding out more about the context of your topic, and
- making note of what you already know about the topic.
Pre-research gives you a better idea of what kinds of information is available on your topic (and where to look for more). From what you find, collect useful keywords or key phrases to use in searching for more directly relevant or focused information.
Encyclopedia Articles for this Class from Prof. Valenzuela
These materials, pulled out by the instructor and posted in Week #7 in Canvas, are great places to look for key words and phrases for searches - as well as helpful context and background to the ideas expressed in Ibram X. Kendi's book(s).
Dovidio, John F., and Melissa-Sue John. "Stereotype." Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, edited by Patrick L. Mason, 2nd ed., vol. 4, Macmillan Reference USA, 2013, pp. 130-136. Gale eBooks, https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.canadacollege.edu/apps/doc/CX4190600426/GVRL?u=plan_canada&sid=GVRL&xid=505c2d31. Accessed 26 June 2020.
Social Psychology of Racism
"Social Psychology of Racism." Encyclopedia of Race and Racism. Ed. John Hartwell Moore. Vol. 3. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 74-79. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.
"Implicit Racism." Encyclopedia of Race and Racism. Ed. John Hartwell Moore. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 156-157. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.
Good Sources for Pre-research - Encyclopedias
Use an academic encyclopedia to get an overview or background information. Here are some online encyclopedias:
Formally Gale Virtual Reference Library, Gale eBooks is a database of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research. These reference materials once were accessible only in the library, but now you can access them online from the library or remotely 24/7. Because each library creates its own eBook collection, the content you see may vary if you use the database at different libraries (your school, your public library, or your office).
U.S. History in Context
U.S. History is an engaging online experience for those seeking contextual information on hundreds of the most significant people, events and topics in U.S. History. U.S. History merges Gale's authoritative reference content with full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites organized into a user-friendly portal experience.
World History In Context
World History in Context is an engaging online experience for those seeking contextual information on hundreds of the most significant people, events and topics in World History. World History merges Gale's authoritative reference content with full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites organized into a user-friendly portal experience.
Good Sources for Pre-Research - Multidisciplinary Databases
These databases include material from a very wide range of disciplines. Doing a quick scan of the titles and brief descriptions of search results here will give you an idea of the scope of information available, and suggest keywords or phrases to use in a more focused search later.
Academic Search Complete
Academic Search Complete is a multidisciplinary database and thus can be used to find information on research paper topics for any of your classes at Cañada College. This database includes newspaper articles, magazine articles, academic journal articles, images, and reports.
GALE Power Search allows you to search all of the Gale databases at once! Including Educator's Reference Complete, General Science Collection, Health Reference Center Academic, and General OneFile.
Use Results From Pre-Research to Focus your Research Question
Use what you've found in your pre-research to figure out if you need to broaden or narrow your original idea when crafting your research question.
Narrowing Your Research Question
This useful online tool from the University of Nevada Las Vegas can help you narrow your topic if it's too general:
Broadening Your Research Question
But sometimes we can narrow our topic too far. If your searches come up with little or no results:
- Check your spelling
- Try (an)other keyword
- Change or remove one or more limits from your topic:
- Who - population or group (e.g., instead of just looking at first-year college students, choose a broader section of the population)
- What - instead of a specific thing, use the category of that thing (for example, use "college entrance exams" instead of SATs)
- Where - geographic location (e.g., instead of Bay Area, choose California, or even just the United States)
- When - time period or era (e.g., instead of 2019, choose the most recent 20 years)
Identifying Pro and Con Arguments on a Topic
One of the best sources for an argumentative opinion paper is the database Opposing Viewpoints.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context
Opposing Viewpoints is an engaging online experience for those seeking contextual information and opinions on hundreds of today's hottest social issues. Drawing on the acclaimed Greenhaven Press series, the solution features continuously updated viewpoints, topic overviews, full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites organized into a user-friendly portal experience.