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ResearchResearch means finding the best information for the problem that you need to solve. At the senior level (or in any field where time and money matter) you need to find specific information and that usually means going beyond the first things you find on Google.

General encyclopedias like Wikipedia give you basic information, but it has limitations. See the USING WIKIPEDIA GUIDE for recommendations about using it. It's a good place to start and gather background information and referrals to other sources.

Academic and substantive news sources will be often be found in DATABASES. And, of course books (including 130,000 e-books) which you will find through the OPAC.

You can also get good information from experts in the field so don't overlook interviewing but remember that material from interviews usually has to be put into context or supports and that means you will need to research in advance.

Be realistic...the more complex your questions and issues, the more you need to read and think and evaluate. Facts are fairly easy to find but you can't make a strong argument on facts alone. You need to go beyond facts for your Capstone paper. You are going to be asked to explain and interpret and for that you will be using other people's ideas. You may find your position changing as you research; that is the nature of learning.

Finally, don't forget that you can always ask your instructor or the librarian about sources.

Recommended Databases

EBSCO ArtSource and OmniFile
Opposing Viewpoints in Context:

NOTE: In articles found in databases, the citation information will be included so that you don't need to create it yourself. It's a real time saver!

Annotated Bibliography

Some of the sources for your annotated bibliography should include journal articles and/or books. You will find articles through the Otis DATABASES and books found through the OPAC. You must annotate and evaluate the sources including the identifying the credentials of the author and the type of information (scholarly, popular, etc.) and intended audience.



Citating Sources

Students are often confused about what to cite, when to cite, how to cite.  In a world with so much information available, it is important to acknowledge the original ideas and the exact words of your sources. Citing is like leaving a trail for the reader to know exactly where you got any information that was not your original idea. This includes images as well unless they are your original work. It means that it you paraphrase original ideas or texts, you still need to cite the source. Paraphrasing is a good idea most of the time because it means that what you are writing keeps the same syle and voice and you get the information across...much better than long quotations. Proper citations in MLA style and a Works Cited page must accompany all papers.

By the senior level you should know when and how to cite you are still not sure, there are very good educational sites listed at Citing Sources.

Quality Web Sources

Evaluating web sites is basically the same as evaluating any information, but there are a few things additional things to watch out for.

Quality Web Sources GUIDE

Complete Senior Rubric

Statistical Information

If you need to collect statistical information to argue a point, see this GUIDE that will refer you to quality web sources with reliable data.

Specifically, the Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions.

Let Grammarly Help with Proofreading!

Need help signing up or using it? Visit the Grammarly@EDU Guide.

Inter-Library Loan and Other Libraries

Inter-Library Loan (ILL)

Otis does not offer an Inter-Library Loan (ILL) Program. However, we are happy to assist students and faculty in finding the resources that they need. Students and faculty are encouraged to request books and other materials that they find lacking in the collection. The reality is that is it often cheaper and faster to buy the needed material than to order it through inter-library loan.

Accessing Other Libraries

There are many other Los Angeles-area libraries available that the Otis Community may find useful.

LMU Library

Privileges at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) William H. Hannon Library: More information coming soon

SCELC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing

For Otis Faculty

This service is only available to current Otis faculty.

If you wish to participate:

  1. Check that the SCELC institution participates in this service: List of participating institutions
  2. Go to the other library's website and review its policies and procedures.
  3. Make sure that the item(s) you wans to borrow are available.
  4. Email to request a signed authorization form.

Make sure to return any materials you have borrowed on time. If you incur any unpaid fees or fines that are billed to the Millard Sheets Library, we may add those charges to your Otis account and/or limit borrowing privileges.

For SCELC Faculty

Faculty from participating institutions:

  1. Bring a signed authorization form from your home institution.
  2. Fill out the Otis Library User Agreement
  3. Email to schedule an appointment.
  4. You may borrow up to 3 items at a time.

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