Take a look at the following sources. What does the format of the source tell you about the content? Who is the audience for each source? What kind of information would you expect to get from each source?
Research often begins with a broad topic. If you search in the library for broad topics, though, you will usually get very basic, general sources about your topic. The following steps can help you refine your topic:
1. Start with a broad topic - e.g. energy consumption
2. Read some general information about your topic. Go the the Background Sources tab on this page and search in one of the resources listed. Or read the Wikipedia page on your topic.
3. Keep track of the aspects of your topic that you might explore (e.g. residential energy consumption) and any useful organizations or sources that you find.
4. If appropriate, select a geographical area.
5. Choose keywords and begin searching in the library. Use keywords and ideas from your results to refine your search further.
1. Use only keywords directly related to your topic/subtopic
Search for: residential "energy consumption" canada
Don't search for: trends in residential energy consumption in Canada
2. Think about related terms within the same category or concept
Search for: residential energy (coal OR hydroelectric OR wind OR gas)
3. One concept, one search
Search for: (residential OR domestic) energy production
Search for: (residential OR domestic) energy consumption
Don't search for: (residential OR domestic) energy production consumption
There are many ways to evaluate a source of information. Here are two:
1. Evaluating the Source
Who is the author? What are her/his credentials?
2. Evaluating the Information
Audience/Depth of Research - is the information general or specific? Who is the intended audience?
Relevance - how closely is it related to your topic? Assignment requirements?
On what is the information based? Observation? Testimony? Opinion?
Quantity - How much was studied? How much previous research was considered?
For Task 2, you are asked to search the electronic version of Environmental Science and Pollution Research International to find and access an article on your chosen topic.
To do this, go to the Library Home Page and select the 'Journals' tab above the main search box.
After searching for "Environmental science and pollution research international ," select the title from the list of results and use the 'Search inside' search box to find articles on your topic.
Start with a simple search and make use of the filters on the right hand side of your search results.