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Capstone Research and Citing: RESEARCH GUIDE FOR CAPSTONE


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.

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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

New York Times is a Quality News Source

We now have a subscription to the New York Times. Set up your account and then you can search directly or through Google (by putting in "New York Times" and your subject).

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.

Recommended Databases


Opposing Viewpoints in Context:
EBSCO ArtSource and OmniFile

NOTE: In articles found in databases, included will be the citation information so that you don't need to create it yourself. It's  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 but... if you are still not sure, refer to the MLA CITATION GUIDE. It contains examples of in-text citations and works cited entries.

Consult with Librarians About Your Research

Librarians can make you life in Capstone a lot easier. We can help you find resources and review your annotations.

Students in Capstone who consult individually with a librarian get better grades. . .   Really.

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Information Literacy: Senior Competecy

For a C: (If you want an A or B, see your course rubric)

A bibliography or works cited page is required and must include at least FOUR QUALITY sources.

Information literacy skills are demonstrated through at least FOUR evaluative annotations for books, academic/museum websites, or database articles. Annotation must include:
1. author credentials
2. a description of the type of source (audience)
3. a discussion about purpose/bias/point of view
4. a discussion about currency
5. an explanation about why the source is relevant to the project/paper.

Try out the Annotation Builder to draft the annotations.

QUALITY sources are often found easily in books and databases. At junior/senior level, at least one database article and a book is expected.

A QUALITY WEB source is an educational or museum website, or an online publication that is written by authorities in the field or professional journalists. Quality websites are concerned with aspects of education rather than sales. For instance, blogs written by scholars. Quality web sources have named authors.

More on Quality Web Sources

Complete Senior Rubric

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