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Ohio University Libraries

MDIA 1010: The Evolution of Media

Guarantee + Milestone 2

Presearch / Research Process

Presearch:

At the beginning of the research process you can start with sources you are familiar with to gather general information.

Google and search engines

You can use Google or other search engines to find general information on topics you are interested in. You should be aware since anyone can create a webpage Google search results are always broad with no quality control. Your results will contain lots of information some with dead links and will be a waste of your time to sift through to find what you need. Some of the results will not lead you to full text articles

Wikipedia

Wikipedia can be useful as a starting point for research but it is not as authoritative as library resources.  You need to maintain some skepticism with articles from Wikipedia. Some of the benefits are that you can use it to find keywords or search terms on your research topics.

Researching your topic:

After you have gotten a general idea of topics you are interested in researching you need to use library sources to find authoritative information that provides a broad overview of your topic and help you to refine your topic. Articles in these s ources are written by scholars and are fact checked or reviewed by editors for accuracy.  Other benefits include the ability to limit your search to what you actually want and access to full text articles on your topic. These background information sources are in different forms, see the list below:

  • Library databases
  • Subject specific encyclopedias
  • Biographies
  • Dictionaries
  • Newspapers
  • Statistical sources

A good background source will:

  1. Give you an overview of the topic and the sub-topics that are often up for debate
  2. Define important terms (events, people, definitions) that you'll need to know to understand the topic. These terms usually make good words with which to search for further resources.
  3. Suggest further readings to help you go forward with your research.