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This guide is designed to help the students in PSC 207 as they work on their research assignments.
Please use the tabs above to navigate to different pages.
Understand the Assignment
- Review the assignment sheet.
- Do this as soon as you can.
- Take your time to understand the goals of the assignment and what, exactly, you will need to deliver.
- Make notes on the assignment sheet or in your calendar to highlight any areas you think you might struggle with. Try to determine any workarounds ahead of time (if possible).
- Ask your professor if you have questions or concerns.
- Outline your goals for how you want to complete the project.
- Example: Goal 1: choose my country. Goal 2: perform preliminary research to determine which aspect of my country's political system(s) I want to focus on. Goal 3: Determine which resources I should use for finding background information. Goal 4: outline a rough draft.
- Create a timeline with clear due dates for each goal.
- Example: Choose between my top 2 countries by Wednesday. Find all peer-reviewed articles by Friday. Begin first draft on Tuesday. Complete Analysis section on Friday, etc.
- Doing this at the beginning will ensure:
- That you have given yourself enough time to successfully complete the project.
- That you will not miss any major components of the assignment.
- That you will confidently complete the assignment in a focused and stress-free mindset.
Understand your Research Needs
- What search terms or search phrases should you use?
- Make a list of each term(s) or phrase(s) you think would be relevant to your research.
- Often, this will come from the assignment's requirements.
- Keep track of which searches you have performed and how successful they were (or weren't).
- This will be helpful if you have to do your research over the course of a few different dates/times.
- What Summon filter options should you select?
- Review the assignment sheet to determine the type of sources you should use (for example, scholarly books versus peer-reviewed journal articles)
- Review the assignment sheet to determine if a specific publication date range is required (for example, only results that were published within the last five years).
- What Discipline or Subject filters (in Summon) should you use?
- Review your assignment sheet and your outline to determine which Discipline(s) you should choose from that Summon filter
- Review the list of Subject Terms to find the keywords related to the research you are looking for.
- If you have not used Summon before, and are unfamiliar with the context of Steps 2 and 3 above, please review:
- The Types of Sources tab above, which has a how-to video
- The Library Summon Search tab above, which has explanatory images.