Welcome to the Panola College research paper page. On these pages you will find information and resources for assistance with writing a research paper. If you get stuck or need more assistance don't hesitate to contact the library! You can use the Ask a Librarian chat for real time assistance anytime the library is open.
Unlike Google, library databases can't understand an entire sentence. So you'll need to break your topic down into the most important ideas - KEYWORDS.
Example: What was the effect of social media on candidate preference in the 2016 US presidential election?
The specifics of your topic will matter when selecting sources, but for searching, you only need the most essential components.
Keywords: social media, candidate preference, 2016 US presidential election
Most words have synonyms that mean the same, or very similar, things. For each keyword in your topic, try to come up with at least one synonym. Not all keywords will have synonyms, but many do!
Keyword: social media Synonym: Facebook
Keep an Eye Out
Sometimes scholars use terms that you might not be familiar with, or which might mean something very specific within the discipline. While searching, look for unfamiliar terms or words that show up a lot. Try searching for those and see if you find more relevant sources.
Most library databases have search tools built in. Try some of these:
Look on the left and right of your search results, or for an "advanced search" page to find these tools - and more!
You can evaluate any source using the 5 W's:
Use the operator AND to find only sources that mention both keywords.
social media AND candidate preference
This search will bring back fewer results than searching either keyword on its own.
Use the OR operator to expand your search with additional keywords.
social media OR Facebook
This will find sources that include either word, so you'll see more results than by searching for just one keyword.
Use the “QUOTES” strategy to search for several words in a phrase. Also known as PHRASE SEARCHING.
This will bring back results that only use that exact phrase.
Truncation allows you to search the root form of a word with all its different endings by adding a symbol to the end of a word. Truncation symbols vary by database (check the help screens or ask a Librarian), but are usually one of the below:
! (exclamation point)
? (question mark)
For example: advertis* will search for advertise, advertisement, advertising, advertises
Academic Integrity has three main principles:
Lipson, C. (2004). Doing honest work in college: How to prepare citations, avoid plagiarism, and achieve real academic success. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press
Citation is how you avoid plagiarism and copyright violations.
Citation - tells your reader where a quote or idea came from
Copyright - set of laws aimed at protecting people's ideas, words, concepts
Plagiarism - act of passing off someone else's work as your own