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Syracuse University Libraries

Feminism: Start Your Research

Offers access to print and online resources and strategies of research on feminist issues, theories and events.

Basic Research Skills - Research Paper

1. Develop a topic, based on your knowledge or skills, or research:

  • A hypothetical research statement;
  • A question;
  • A phrase

ex.  sex trafficking

2. Ask yourself basic questions about your topic.  The questions may start with;

  • How
  • Why
  • Where
  • When
  • What
  • Who

ex.  Who are the victims?  Where is sex trafficking most prevalent?

3. From those questions, develop key words or terms

ex. prostitution, human trafficking, slavery, globalization, child pornography

4. Use those terms when searching tools such as Library catalogs, databases, or Google or Google Scholar.

5. You may want to get general, background information on your topic if you know very little about it.

        ex. Encyclopedias, books, reviews of the literature, etc.

6. Finding sources in various formats on your topic

      ex. Electronic sources, printed materials, microforms

7. Current scholarship, including peer-reviewed research on your topic.

8. Statistical sources

Evaluating Sources

Questions you should ask of every source you find


  • What is the publication/creation date?
  • Does this time period meet your information need?
  • When was the last update?
  • Are all the links up-to-date ( for web resources)?


  • Who is the author?  What are her/his credentials?
  • Has the author been cited in other sources?
  • Who is publishing this information (individual, non-profit organization, commercial entity)?


  • Do other sources contain the same information?
  • Is evidence given to support the information?
  • Are other sources cited?
  • Is the site edited, or does it contain typographical errors (for web resources)?


  • Who is the intended audience (students, researchers, trades people, children, adults)?
  • Is this source appropriate for your needs and understanding of the topic?

Point of View (Bias)

  • Does the source present the information from a particular bias or single viewpoint?
  • Does the source contain assumptions not backed by research?
  • Does the sponsoring organization or site have a stake in how information is presented?
  • Does the information contain advertising?

Evaluating social media sources

Evaluate a Movie or Video

How to Evaluate a Movie, Video or Film Clip
A good web page by Naomi Lederer, Colorado State University Library.

Evaluating Sources - Univ. of California, Berkeley

Searching and Evaluating Sources, including websites

  Evaluating Sources
University of California, Berkeley Library