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ENG 200 Quiz Review

The Research Process

Get a working knowledge of your topic.

You could just use Google, but...

As you are Googling and consulting general, less authoritative sources (Wikipedia), you may realize your sources are all taking the same position on your subject and often cite the same people.  

  • Therefore, the position you take could be biased because sources are all cross-referencing one another
  • Your research question won't reflect (or isn't reflecting) the complexity of the subject matter.
  • When we use Google, we aren't always focused on precision.  So, you could be getting biased results because your keywords aren't accurate or precise.
  • Thus, you need to expand your search and actually choose authoritative sources or, if websites, ones that are sponsored by credible organizations. 

Relying on just Google and online encyclopedias risks an echo-chamber effect of a tight circle of sources citing each other without much verification or original research.  Expanding your search to include relevant original research from more than one resource will shed light on the true complexity of the question.


Now it is time to decide what you already know and what you want to know about the topic.  This will allow you to formulate a good research question.  Good research questions are:

  • Interesting to you
  • Something you don't already know
  • Should not have an obvious answer
  • Require the use of genuine scholarship and real evidence


Sample Question:  What is the effect of screen time on developing brains? 

Break down your research question into main concepts.  Then think of keywords you can use - as well as synonyms for them - in your search. 

Question:  What is the effect of screen time on developing brains?  

effects "screen time"  "developing brains" adolescents "young adults" streaming "watch time"

(Notice I put phrases in quotations.  This tells the databases to search those words in that exact order.)


Now let's run the search!

  • Using the main search bar on the library's homepage will allow you to search for books and full-text articles (both print and online) from academic journals, magazines, and newspapers, as well as videos, DVDs, and CDs. 
  • Through the main search bar, you have access to all books (print or electronic) in the collection at Camden-Carroll Library
  • If you find a book or article that you believe would be helpful to your research, you can click into the record, and find the "Subjects" or "Subject Terms."  These are clickable links that will launch you into a new search based solely on your chosen term.