Module 1

Introduction to Research

This module covers the starting point for a research project and gives an overview of the resources available to you.

When you have completed this module, you will be able to:

- define information literacy.
- identify a variety of information sources.
- select the correct sources for your research.
- recognize the difference between primary and secondary sources.
- identify a journal and a magazine.
- use the services and collections of the Peru State College Library.

 

Information literacy is knowing why, when, and how to use different types of sources and how to pick the best sources for your needs.

It's being able to:

- determine what information you need,
- find the information you need,
- evaluate information and its sources critically,
- apply and use information ethically and legally, and
- acknowledge your use of the information.


Watch this video created by Seminole State Library to learn more.

You have access to many types of sources for information.

Click on the image of each source to learn more.

Journals

Encyclopedias

Magazines

Library Catalog

Newspapers

Library Databases

Books & eBooks

World Wide Web

When selecting the right source or sources for your research, you need to consider some of the following.

1. Review the information about the assignment so you know what sources need to use. Knowing what type of sources you need will make your research less frustrating and more efficient.

2.  Talk to your professor especially if s/he doesn't provide any guidelines on what type of sources to use. Your professor will be helpful in directing you to sources to consider. You can also ask a librarian.

3. Decide on how current the information needs to be. This is especially useful when conducting research for your professional and personal pursuits

Sources of information are created at different intervals after an event occurs. For some research, you may only want current information, others only historical information. And then some may require a combination of both.

The creation of information determines where you will find information after an event occurs.

Minutes/Hours after an event, find information on the Web, Television, and Radio .

Months after an event, find information in Journals .

Days after an event, find information in Newspapers .

Years after an event, find information in Books and eBooks .

Weeks after an event, find information in Magazines .

You may also want to consider whether you need primary sources and/or secondary sources.

Primary sources are original documents or physical objects usually written, created, or produced during the event or time period. It is first-hand information.

Secondary sources interpret and analyze primary sources. It is second-hand information.

Discipline Example of Primary Source Example of Secondary Source
Art Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa Critique of Renaissance painting
Business NASDAQ stock quotes Analysis of the stock
Criminal Justice Court report Book on criminal procedure
Education Speech by Secretary of Education Education textbook
History Interview with a Vietnam War veteran eBook on the Vietnam War
Literature The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Literary criticism of novel
Music Beethoven's 5th Symphony Biography on Ludwig Beethoven
Sciences Scientific results of an experiment Magazine article reporting on the experiment

 

Finally, you need to know the difference between a journal and a magazine. This will ensure that you are finding journal articles when required by your professor and that you are using the correct citation style for each.

Scholarly journals contain articles that have undergone a “peer review” process. Scholars and experts in the subject (the author’s peers) review the information and decide if it should be published or rejected. This process ensures the highest quality of scholarship is published. They are also called peer reviewed or refereed journals.

Characteristics of a scholarly journal articles are:

  • Citations supporting the author's research,
  • Authors that are scholars or experts in the subject,
  • Language associated with the subject, and
  • Charts and tables.

Characteristics of a magazine article are:

  • No citations,
  • Author is a journalist,
  • Audience is general public,
  • Glossy and colorful pictures, and
  • Prominent advertisements.

Watch this video created by Vanderbilt University on how to read journal articles.

The Peru State College Library offers free services to Peru State students and employees. It also has several collections throughout the library that are accessible to all patrons.

  • Assistance with your research is available by stopping at the Front Desk or at the office of Veronica Meier, Library Director. You may also email, chat, or call the library for help.
  • You may check out materials at the Front Desk. Books check out for 2 weeks and can be renewed 1 time. DVDs and CDs check out for 1 week and can be renewed 1 time. Materials may be returned at the Front Desk or at the outside drop box.
  • The Textbook Collection has a copy of most of the required books for current courses. Ask at the Front Desk for the textbook you wish to use in the library for 2 hours.
  • Laptops are also available at the Front Desk to be used in the library for 2 hours.
  • Request an Item (Interlibrary Loan) is how you can obtain a copy of an article or book that the library doesn't own. This will be discussed more in later modules.
  • Food and drinks are permitted in the library. Please dispose of containers in the proper trash or recycling receptacles.

The Main Floor has:

  • Computer Lab with free black & white printing,
  • New Books collection including popular bestseller fiction books,
  • DVD collection, and
  • Study Aid collection with textbooks and useful aids for courses.

The Curriculum Level has:

  • K-12 teacher editions of curriculum books, and
  • Young adult, juvenile, and picture books.

The Lower Level has the main collection of books.

The Parking Level has the older issues of journals and magazines.

You've completed Module 1. You should now be able to:

green check mark define information literacy.

green check mark identify a variety of information sources.

green check mark select the correct sources for your research.

green check mark recognize the difference between primary and secondary sources.

green check mark identify a journal and a magazine.

green check mark use the services and collections of the PSC Library.


You are ready for Module 2 - Choosing Your Topic.