Thursday, March 13, 2008

Introducing Social Issues Research

Research Lesson
The following is a guide created to help you begin your research project on Social Issues. Using books sources, internet links and online databases you will select your topic and begin to compile the information needed to complete your tasks.
The following is a list designed to help you plan your search. Good information seeking strategies begins with asking the right questions.
1) The Assignment
What are the directions for this project?
What is it that I need to know about my topic?
What do I already know about my topic?
By defining your task you will have an easier time seeking and obtaining the information you need. If a list of question is not provided by your instructor you can create your own list by asking and answering the questions listed above. This will help give you clear goals when beginning your research.
2) Strategies
When compiling research on a topic it might surprise you the amount of information there is available and how much has NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT YOU NEED. Need a good example of this Google search your topic with no modifications and watch how many hits come back. Too many and before you scroll down the first page half the hits will be of little use to you.
When using databases, internet sites or even the electronic card catalog in the library; you can narrow or broaden your subject in order to control the information that you recieve.
Subject Narrowed Narrowed Narrowed Narrowed
Science Space Solar System Planets Jupiter
Go back to your questions on your topic and create a KEY WORD list. This list should be words specific to your topic but narrowed to help you get the specifics you need to complete your project.
3) Consider the Source: Database Searches vs The Internet
There is alot of good information available on the internet. The problem with using the internet as a primary source for a school project is that not all the information on the web is accurate. Anyone can post anything on the internet. You might come across a really well written article on your topic and want to use it for your project only to find out it was written by a student in another state.
When using the internet look to see where the information is coming from.
For this project, an article posted by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) or another government agency would be perfectly suitable.
*** When using an internet source, if possible, print the pages out and make note of the date you accessed the site. Unlike books, internet sites can be altered and the information may not be there later on.
Databases are a safe and easy way to search and compile good information from good sources.
All information located in databases has been verified and reviewed by persons in the same field as the author. (Ex.: An article written by a Cryptozoologist would be reviewed by other Cryptozoologists and accepted before it can be posted. This is called PEER REVIEWING.)
The following is a list of the databases available through Long Beach High School.
4) Citations
Along the side of this blog are several links to on-line citation sites.
While compiling your information, take note of the following:
BOOK SOURCE: Title, Author, Publisher, City of Publication and Date of Publication
This can all be found on the Title Page which is located in the front of the book.
INTERNET SOURCE: Name of author, Title of article, Title of homepage, URL, Date you visited.
DATABASE: Name of author, Title of article, Name of journal, Volume and number of journal, Page numbers, Date published.
5) Synthesis
Go back and review your assignment CAREFULLY. Can you complete your assignment with the information you have obtained? If not, what else do you need?
If you have used one source exclusively it may be time to try another one. You may need to narrow or broaden your topic searches. Look at your KEY WORDS, can you add, eliminate or change a word to bring back different information? What other words are associated with our topic?
Additional Sites WRT 105
These are links related to Iraq war - injuries to soldiers and prisoner treatment