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Get Started With Research

Use this guide to become a more skillful researcher. Learn how to develop research questions, choose credible sources, evaluate your sources, cite them correctly, and avoid plagiarism

What Your MJC Instructors Expect from You

Congratulations! You've made it to college and you want to succeed.  The type of work you'll be expected to perform in college is very different from the work you did in high school.  In this short video clip, Leslie Collins, MJC Speech Instructor, tells you what level of work your college teachers expect of you.  By using this guide you'll learn how to succeed on your college-level research assignments.

Research Is Not the Same as Gathering Information

Twenty-first century students don’t need to spend a lot of time learning how to find information. After all, many of you are online everyday gathering information: reconnecting with people, finding open classes through PiratesNet, downloading driving directions, weather forecasts, song lyrics, recipes, and celebrity gossip.

But gathering information is not research!  Research requires that you find information, of course, but it also demands much more from you. The MLA Handbook defines research in terms of  exploring ideas, probing issues, solving problems, or making arguments relating to existing ideas.  Yes, you need information to complete these tasks, but you also need lots of time to read the information you find, to reflect on it in terms of what you already know and what you are learning, and to write multiple drafts of speeches/papers so that you can present your research as clearly, logically, and successfully as possible.

This guide offers you a set of steps to follow that will move you beyond the mere gathering of information, and into the realm of real academic research. It will help you develop a research strategy that will, with time and practice, enable you to become a more efficient researcher, saving you time and sanity.

Feel free to return to this guide as many times as you need. Of course,if you find you need additional help, please remember that MJC Research Librarians are happy to work with you and can help you in person at the reference desk or online.