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Ready, Set, Research

This guide is geared toward students who need to prepare research papers and/or speeches for college courses.

Meet the Librarian

Kathleen Ennis's picture
Kathleen Ennis
Contact:
Use the button above to send me an email.

Fall 2020 Research Help
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all Fall 2020 research help is being conducted online via Ask a Librarian.

You can also make an online appointment via our Meet with a Librarian service.

I will be staffing our online Research Help according to the following schedule.*

Wednesdays: 2pm-4pm
Thursdays: 10am-12pm
Fridays: 12pm-2pm

*If these days/times don't work for you, use the link above to email me. We will figure something out!

Stay safe! Stay engaged! Stay enrolled!

Welcome

Have you ever:

  • Put off a research project simply because you didn't know how to get started?
  • Had trouble finding reputable sources for research projects?
  • Wasted time and money getting information you didn't end up using in your paper?
  • Stressed out at the last minute, trying to fill gaps in your research and make word count?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this guide is for you. It was created to help students move independently through the basics of research; 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, by phone, or email. For more information on how to get additional help, click here.

You can work through the entire research guide by moving through the subject tabs at the top from left to right, or you can simply pick and choose topics that interest you and jump around in the guide.

Why a Guide?

Twenty-first century students don’t need to spend a lot of time learning how to find information. After all, many of us are online every day retrieving information: reconnecting with people on Facebook, finding open classes through PiratesNet, downloading driving directions, weather forecasts, song lyrics, recipes, and other pieces of information that get us through the day.

But information retrieveal 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, students need information to complete these tasks, but the depth and breadth of information needed moves far beyond a single source.  Within the research process students also need considerable time to read the information they find, time to reflect on new information in terms of what they already know and what they are learning, and time to write multiple drafts of speeches/papers so that they 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.

I welcome your comments and suggestions for making this guide more useful, so please feel free to send me your feedback by clicking on the Comments links located throughout the guide.

Good luck with your project!