Conducting Research

This tutorial will guide you on your research journey.  It contains hints and links to resources that will make your research more effective and reduce your chances of developing a headache. 

1. Use dictionaries & encyclopedias to plan your research

  • Check both general and subject-specific works. 
  • Online dictionaries and encyclopedias are a great place to start.
    • Boolean (and, or, not) keyword searching locates information quickly. 
    • Remember the RATS rule--Read All The Screens.mouse 
  • Print dictionaries and encyclopedias offer a broad range of information. 
  • All dictionaries and encyclopedias contain information and bibliographies that may be helpful as you continue with your research, so be sure to take notes. 

2. Broaden your horizons with periodical indexes.horizon/sunset

  • Indexes are a researcher's best friend because they point the way to articles found elsewhere, and some online versions contain the full text of the article. 
  • In addition to providing access to information contained in past issues of periodical publications, these resources will often provide more current information than can be found in most books. 
  • Like dictionaries, indexes are available in four flavors (general, subject-specific, online and print), feature Boolean keyword searching and are most useful if the RATS rule is followed. 
  • Use search terms discovered during your exploration of dictionaries and encyclopedias. 
  • Creative thinking is necessary during an index search. 
  • Try this subject-specific index: International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text (IIMP) 
  • After you have located suitable articles check to see if we have them online by searching the E-Journal Portal.

3. Add depth to your findings by searching the online library catalog. computer 

  • The library catalog is helpful in locating items that contain more established, time-tested information than can be found in periodical publications. 
  • Continue to RATS and reuse search terms and creativity that yielded good results in the past. 
  • When choosing items from search screens be sure they are current (i.e., published within the last five years) if deemed necessary by the subject matter.

4. End your journey with an Internet search. 

  • Explore the Internet last and be discerning about what you use.  Information may not be reliable.  For more information on evaluating web sites, see the Music Library's guide to Evaluating Web Sites
  • Boolean keyword searching and the RATS rule apply, and you have one last time to get the most out of search terms found during your dictionary/encyclopedia search. 
  • Internet sources require a special citation format.  For help with formats and citation style, see the Music Library's info on Citing Sources

5. Keep a travel log.   book with quill 

  • When taking notes from your sources, be sure to record the following citation information: 
    • Title(s) 
    • Author(s) 
    • Publisher 
    • Location of publisher 
    • Date of publication 
    • Page numbers from which info was taken 
  • If possible, photocopy/scan the title pages of books and periodicals, and print/save Web site pages that contain citation information.  This is a fast and accurate way to record this crucial data. 

created by David Hursh, 01-19-99 
rev. DH, 08-25-99, NN 7-30-07, 2-13-09

Music Library Conducting Research - ECU

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