Research Coach - LSC-CyFair
Start Your Research Project with Proven Tips and 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-The Rundown (Note: Click on topic links at top of 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 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
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 forkeeping 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?
- Format Your Citations
Get Expert Research Help
Research Tips - LSC-CyFairTip #30: Search Engines vs. Library Databases – Which Is Better for College Research?
The short answer is that it depends. A search engine may work best for finding useful information on statistics or a constantly updated topic, such as the job outlook for nurses or the Syrian refugee issue, respectively. However, entering search words into an appropriate library database can provide full-text books and articles with a wider variety of perspectives and/or deeper background on current, specialized, or historical topics such the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, literary criticism on John Steinbeck’s short story, "A & P," or the Battle of San Jacinto, respectively. Check with your professor on what types of sources are allowed for a research assignment. Then, save valuable time by asking a librarian for help on locating the best resources on your specific subject.