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Syracuse University Libraries

HNR 100: Home

Overview of skill building

What is Research?

Asking a question is the foundation of conducting research. 

Research Can be:

Methodology Led, Context Led,Theory Led, Practice based, Field Work,Testing, Cross-disciplinary

General Guidelines for Research

Familiarize yourself with your topic.

Gather background information about your topic using reference sources:
(Reference books provide important information on a topic, include specific details, and point to other useful sources of information.) They point the way into the core literature of a topic contained in books, journals, reports, and many other types of publications. They can also summarize, digest, or review the literature on a topic in ways that save you time and energy.
Knowing the reference sources in your discipline can increase the efficiency of your searches by enabling you to better focus your questions.
Be sure to evaluate the kinds of sources you are using.  Review your print sources and pay special attention to Internet sources.
Read the source carefully.  Note organizational differences between tools. Not all works are comprehensive in scope.
Be creative. 
Try alternative and related headings to locate the information you need. If your initial search is so broad that you have too many sources, then narrow your search. If your search brings back too few sources, then broaden the search, using more general terms.

Think Like a Journalist

Be sure you are able to answer the following questions before beginning your research:

Types of Periodicals

Evaluating Periodicals

How to evaluate periodical articles (from Colorado State Libraries):


YouTube tutorial from OVCC on evaluating academic articles:


For Full range of databases click here

Search Plan

Define the topic.

Determine the component parts.  If the topic is fairly broad, start with the narrowest concept.  If your topic is very narrow, begin your research using broad terms.

Gear your searching to the resource. For example, when searching subject specific periodical databases, use terms the least common to the discipline.

Review your results and refine your search as necessary.  Broaden the terms if you need more information. Narrow the terms to limit the amount of information retrieved.

Synthesize the information. Determine if and what additional information is needed.

Actively seek out alternative views as a way of testing your theory.

Begin your research in the literature of the primary discipline.

Expand your research of the literature outside the primary discipline to explore context and background.

Harvard Guide to using Sources

Harvard Guide to Using Sources:

The Harvard Guide to Using Sources is an easily accessible introductory guide to use of sources. It includes tips for students on finding, choosing, and integrating reliable sources into academic writing. The Guide provides examples of MLA, APA, and Chicago styles of citation and includes information on avoiding plagiarism.

Citing Sources

Fake News

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)  recommends using critical thinking to spot fake news:

  1. Consider the source. Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and contact information.
  2. Check the author. Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Do they exist?
  3. Check the date. Reposting of old news stories doesn't mean they're relevant to current events.
  4. Check your biases. Consider if your beliefs could affect your judgment.
  5. Read beyond. Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story.
  6. Supporting sources? Click on those links. Determine if the information given actually supports the story.
  7. Is it a joke? If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.
  8. Ask the experts. Ask  a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.

Learning to work with Faculty

Know your Faculty, review the profiles and vitae on the university website.

Use office Hours.

Prepare for any meetings with faculty.

Attend events outside of the class such as symposiums.