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Research strategy for informative writing.
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2009 URL: http://libguides.mpsaz.net/I-Search Print Guide RSS Updates

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Finding Information

Finding Information

 

Information can come from virtually anywhere. The type of information you need will change depending on the question you are trying to answer. Some sources to try are:

School Databases Link

Below is a link to the Mesa Public Schools Library Resource Center databases. 

 

Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias


encyclopediasEncyclopedias contain factual articles on many subjects.

There are two types of encyclopedias -- general and subject. General encyclopedias provide overviews on a wide variety of topics. Subject encyclopedias contain entries focusing on one field of study.

 

Use an Encyclopedia

  • when looking for background information on a topic
  • when trying to find key ideas, important dates or concepts

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Books

  Books

 

books

Books cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction. For research purposes, you will probably be looking for books that synthesize all the information on one topic.

A few books are now available electronically on the Internet (e-books) and are purchased by your library.

Use a Book

  • when looking for a lot of information on a topic
  • to put your topic in context with other important issues
  • to find historical information
  • to find summaries of research to support an argument

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Magazines

Magazines

 magazine 
Magazines publish articles on topics of popular interest and current events. The articles are written by journalists and are for the general public.

Magazines, like journals and newspapers, are called "periodicals" because they are published at regular intervals throughout the year. You can find print magazines at news stands and in libraries. Some are now available on the Internet as electronic magazines.

Use a Magazine
  • to find information or opinions about popular culture
  • to find up-to-date information about current events
  • to find general articles written for people who are not necessarily specialists in the topic area

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Databases

Databases

 Databases 

 Databases contain articles taken from books, encyclopedias, magazines, websites, newcasts and other information formats. The databases offer you current, accurate, unbiased, reviewed information. Most databases give you citation information in MLA format and others. There are two important databases; article and subject.

An Article Database

Article databases (also called periodical databases) include the citations, abstracts or brief summaries, and full text of articles in magazines, journals and newspapers. An example of an article database that is available through the Library Resource website is EBSCO.

Subject Oriented Databases

Rather than build one massive, centralized database, most companies are building numerous subject-oriented databases. Examples of a few subject databases available through the Library Resource website are Facts on File, American History Online, or Science Online.

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Interviews

Interviews

 Interview 

An interview is a meeting/conversation with an individual to gain personal insight. In preparation, make sure to have interview questions ready with several of them open-ended.

 

         Use an Interview

  •  To gain personal experiences from people who have direct knowledge of your topic
  •  To learn information from an expert in the field

 

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