Research Tips

IMPORTANT: You have access to lots of databases through your school library! Visit https://bpslibraries.org/high-resources to access them and find free scholarly articles to use as sources for your papers and projects.

  • Remember to set the filters to show you articles that are offered with full text and from peer reviewed journals. These will give you only sources that you can read in their entirety online and from the most reputable sources. Your search should look like this:

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WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN YOU’RE RESEARCHING

  • NUMBERS! You can’t argue with numbers, so the more stats you have, the more solid your argument. Just make sure you can analyze them properly so they’re in context.
  • Quotes from prominent people. Political figures, famous scientists, field researchers – you don’t have credentials, so you have to get your credibility from people who do!
  • Analysis that proves your point

WIKIPEDIA IS BAD AND EVIL? Myth! While wikipedia is not a reputable and scholarly site, and therefore you should never put it on your bibliography, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it though. Just that you should be aware of its limitations. Anything you find on Wikipedia, you need to fact-check with scholarly sources because anyone can edit the pages. Take a look at the footnotes in the References section. If those sources are reliable, odds are the article is too.Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 11.57.22 AM.png

BEFORE YOU GOOGLE: Remember that Google Scholars exists! It’s just like regular Google, but weeds out all the random nonsense and gives you sources your teachers would approve of.

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TO QUOTE OR NOT TO QUOTE:

  • QUOTE when you have a statement from a specific person relevant to your research.
  • QUOTE when you really like the wording of some analysis and want to keep it.
  • DO NOT QUOTE all of your analysis! A few sentences that you especially like can be direct quotes, but most of it should be paraphrased in your own words.
  • DO NOT QUOTE individual terms! Putting a single word in quotations doesn’t count as a quote, and it just looks sarcastic. Avoid this unless it is a term created solely for the purpose of the piece you’re reading. Ex: Wilson describes his theory of “Thingamajig” (Wilson 42) as a phenomenon occurs when stuff does a thing in this particular way.
  • IF YOU QUOTE you must introduce the quote. You cannot “have random quotations in the middle of a sentence like this.” You must introduce it. For example:
    • In her handout about research tips, Shannon wrote, “you cannot have random quotations in the middle of a sentence…”
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