Before you do anything, figure out how you will organize your research. Some suggestions:
Concept Mapping is a great way to organize your thoughts and map out ideas.
Dropbox is a cloud based storage solution. You can access your files anywhere (as long as you have an internet connection). First 2GB free!
Google Docs can be used to store notes and ideas, to create a presentation, and to share documents - and it can be accessed wherever you have an internet connection.
Zotero is a free open-source citation management tool that lets you save articles, websites, and other materials. There are useful tutorials for getting starting and maximizing this resource. Zotero needs to be installed on your computer.
Citations help you find information and images again - check out the UNCC citation guide HERE.
Tips for finding things
You can search by title, author, keyword, subject, or journal title. Take note of the keywords and subject headings for the things you find that are useful - this will give you specific search terms to use as you continue with your research.
Click on each topic below for more information.
- Keyword Search: (ex. "August Wilson") shows all items containing the person's name somewhere in the record.
- AND (fewer results) / OR (expanded results) / NOT (eliminates words)
- * truncation symbol (allows you to search for all spellings of theater (or theatre!) if you put in "theat*") - Magic!
- Use "quotation marks" to search for a specific phrase
- Use the "Modify Search" button to perform an advanced search (to weed out materials you don't want).
Search: last name, first name (ex.: Eames, Ray) shows all items about this person, broken down by type of material: biographies, correspondence, criticism, etc.
- A specific topic (ex. "set design" or "stage design")
- A topic, narrowed geographically (ex. Theater China or Broadway New York)
- Save your catalog searches using "Saved List" (the "save" button is listed under the number of each item).
- You can continue to save items on your list throughout your search session
- To get to the Saved List, click "View Saved Records" at the top of the screen
- You can print the list or email it to yourself
It can be hard to determine if an article is scholarly or popular. Here are some things that indicate something is scholarly:
- It is written by an expert in the field (PhD, etc).
- The institution where the author works is listed.
- The article includes a bibliography.
- The journal might be described as "peer-reviewed" or "refereed"
- The article uses speciality words or jargon unique to the field.
- Very often, scholarly articles have an abstract at the beginning that explains what the article is about.
The 3 minute video embedded below has some great tips!