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Research Process for LENG112 Critical Analysis & Composition


Identify specific topic.

Understand your relationship to it (e.g. why selected; what already know; how learn more).


Although topic should be specific, wording might need be general.  Example:

"The Effects of Indian Students Studying Engineering in America on the World Economy."
Typing all those words into database will produce zero results.   Word it in broader terms.  Examples:
"indian" and "engineering"; "world" and "economy".
If no source exactly matches topic, then connect points between general or related sources.


Research Relationship

 Firsthand, original analysis (e.g. observations, interviews, surveys); Researcher collects or observes original data.
 Secondhand analysis (e.g. articles, books, web sites); library catalogs, articles indices, web engines used to find.
 Third person (e.g. dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks); library catalogs, articles indices, web engines used to find.
- authority (authors' education, experience, intentions)
- methodology (research, analysis)
- timeliness (appropriate publication date for topic)
- relevance (to topic)


Two types of searches:

Controlled Vocabulary
Specific to particular database (e.g. Library of Congress Subject Headings for Nash Library Catalog).
Disadvantage: inflexible (wording must be exact).
Adavantage: results all relevant.

Universal to all databases.
Disadvantage: results often irrelevant.
Advantage: very flexible (almost any words produce results).
To lessen irrelevant results, use Boolean Operators:
AND to combine (e.g. america AND education);
OR to expand (e.g. education OR school OR academics);
NOT to eliminate (e.g. mexico NOT new).

Emmett Lombard

Emmett Lombard's picture
Emmett Lombard