Research Coach - LSC-CyFair
Start Your Research Project with Proven Tips & Tools!
What Topic Should I Research?
- Check assignment details from your professor for:
- the scope of the project
- the type of information required or suggested
- the format of the project (e.g., presentation, paper, etc.)
- Ask a librarian for topic ideas related to your interests.
- Get topic suggestions from:
- Online News Hour-Newsdesk (Note: Click on menu on the left top of the page for more coverage or use the search box in the top right to locate a specific topic)
- Old Dominion Libraries Idea Generator (topic ideas under broad categories such as education, health sciences, etc.)
- Go Behind the News Blog (stories in the news that have background information in LSC-CyFair Branch Library)
- Focus your topic on a specific and manageable aspect that interests you:
- time period or geographical area
- problem, viewpoint, issue, or trend
- group affected by the topic
What Topic Words Are Best for Online Information Searches?
- Select nouns as your primary search words.
(examples: person, place, or thing)
- Start searching with 1 - 3 words or phrases.
- Add the word – and – between search words.
(example: women and veterans)
- Put “quotes” around specific phrases.
(example: women and veterans and "mental health")
- Limit results by adding words to your search.
(example: women and veterans and "mental health" and "United States")
- Increase results by removing words from your search.
(example: women and "mental health")
Where Do I Search for Information?
Note: For off-campus access, enter the barcode number on your college ID/ library card. Or request a library card barcode number.
- Start your research with some articles from our multi-topic databases.
- Find controversial topics in these databases.
- Use digital books online and library books on the shelf to get background details on your topic.
- Discover statistics to prove your point on a topic.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States (population, employment, business, military, etc.)
- Get streaming video to enhance your presentation.
- Discover specialized sources with databases by subject for literature, health, business, and more.
- Locate reliable sources on the Internet with unique details for your project.
How Do I Select Sources and Organize Them?
- Rate your sources. - Evaluating Information Checklist or try Zombies in the Library: How to Evaluate Information Interactive Tutorial
- Identify the type of article you need. - Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines
- Learn some methods for keeping track of information sources. - Note Taking and Research: Why, How, and What? (PDF)
- Put source information into your own words. - Summarize, Paraphrase, and Quote: When and How? (PDF)
How Do I Cite My Sources?
- APA Style Guide – 6th ed.
- MLA Citation - 8th ed. - Works Cited & In-Text
- Citation Help - for additional examples and styles
- Avoiding Plagiarism FAQ
How Do I Format Research Papers?
- APA (Microsoft Word 2016)
- MLA (Microsoft Word 2016)
- Chicago from the Chicago Manual of Style CMOS Shop Talk
Research Tips - LSC-CyFair
Tip #38: Use the Power of the "OR" Search!
Recently, a group of LSC-CyFair students were comparing two countries on one of several topics for a research project. They could have searched for each country and the topic (e.g., education) separately. Instead, they saved time by using the OR search in the library databases and Google to get results that included at least one of the countries and their topic. Please note the different ways to enter a search in each tool that provide the best results.