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 #31: What Type of Web Page Is Most Reliable?
You may be surprised at the answer. Many people say that .org, .edu, and .gov web pages are valuable to use and .com is to be avoided. But is that idea always true? Looking at the end of internet addresses or URLs (e.g., .org, .edu, etc.) can be one way to judge the value of a web page, but you need to review the first part of a URL, too, plus the content on the page itself. Most reputable news sites include .com in their URL – cnn.com, nytimes.com, chron.com, latimes.com – to name a few, but many .com sites are all about selling using biased claims, so they may not be useful sources of research information. Only recognized educational (.edu), governmental (.gov), and military (.mil) groups can use those designations in their URLs, so added reliability is inherent with that practice. Anyone can register a .com, .org, or .net site. And there are even more types of URLs not listed here. It’s your job to investigate information from any web site! Don't assume that all .com web pages are “bad” and all .org web pages are “good.” Use the LSCS Libraries Evaluating Information Checklist to help you decide what information is most reliable.