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Boatwright Memorial Library

FYS 100 (37/38): Democracy and Education (Snaza): Getting Started

Virtual Library Session

Click on the link below to open your Virtual Library Session.

  • The tutorial will take you approximately 1 hour to complete and you can complete it on your phone or device. 
  • You can take it as many times as you want and you can re-start it any time (so you don't have to do it all at once).

Click Here for Tutorial

When you finish, you'll be asked to provide your first and last name and a confirmation email will be sent to your librarian. You'll also be able to email yourself a Certificate of Completion -- keep that email in case we have any tech glitches. 

What's Your Research Strategy?

Developing a research strategy can help you find relevant sources more effectively and efficiently:

  • What is the question you are trying to answer?
  • Do you need to find background information just to get started?
  • What kinds of sources do you need to find to back up your arguments?
  • How might articles or books you have used in this course lead you to other relevant sources?
  • Where will you search for scholarly sources? How will you search?
  • How might you save time when deciding if a source is relevant to your topic?
  • What other kinds of sources, besides traditional scholarship might you draw from?
  • How will you critically evaluate the sources you find to determine their credibility?
  • If you don't find exactly what you are looking for, what might this indicate?
  • Do you need to refine your question?

Research tips:

Not sure where to start? Here's a few tips to jumpstart your research:

  • Do some preliminary research about your topic, so you have enough information to find relevant resources- find a reference source, scholarly article or look at a website like Wikipedia for basic background information.
  • Use different keywords and combinations of keywords to conduct a search for articles and more. If you are searching for information about racism, inequality and education, try looking by using the terms "racism AND education" (put your key words in quotes to make sure they are searched together). 
  • Try conducting your search with a few different words that mean the same/similar things, ie. synonyms, or figure out multiple terms that might encompass your topic. The term "education" could be substituted with "pedagogy".
  • Figure out what kinds of sources you need to draw from and how you will use this information to support your arguments.  You may need to find peer reviewed, scholarly journal articles, books, and essays in edited volumes, or you may draw from organizational websites like the NEA. Understand the differences between these types of sources and how both can be valuable.
  • If you find a useful book or article- always look at the citations or footnotes. These are sources that you can also draw from.
  • Read abstracts of scholarly articles, glance at book indexes, and scan chapter headings to determine if a source is worth a closer look.
  • Search Google scholar to see what sources others have cited. If you see something that has been cited a lot (several hundred times) this might be an important text to look at. Look up the author and see what else they have written.
  • Go beyond Onesearch by searching subject specific databases. Since this topic is interdisciplinary, you may want to search several subject-specific databases in areas such as women's studies, disability studies, or labor- spanning the humanities and social sciences.

Begin Your Research

Oftentimes, the hardest part of a research projects is choosing and narrowing in on your topic. From there, it is important to understand that the research process is not linear:

Useful links:

  • OneSearch- a discovery tool that searches most of the library's collections, including books, journal articles, periodicals, movies and more.

  • Google Scholar- search for citations for articles and conference papers.

  • Wikipedia - a free online encyclopedia, created and edited by volunteers, hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Library reference sources & encyclopedias - find quick reference and/or background information through the library's reference resources.
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