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HIST 107 - World Civilization from the 16th Century - Van Valkenburg

Use this guide to research your history topics

Meet Your Librarian

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Iris Carroll

Need help now? In addition to our Research Help Drop-In Hours Monday - Saturday, we have online help available. Simply go to the Ask a Librarian page to get immediate help.

My Research Help Schedule
(In Person, East Campus L & LC. and Online Chat)

Mondays: 9-10 am, 11-2pm, 3-4pm
Tuesdays: 9-10 am, 2-4 pm
Wednesdays: 9am-12 pm (on West Campus), 1- 3 pm
Thursdays: 11 am-1pm

Zoom Appointments
Times vary. To see when I'm available and to schedule an appointment with me, simply click on the orange "Schedule Appointment" button above, then pick your date/time. If you do not see a day/time that works, please email me and we can arrange another time.

If I am your class librarian, contact me through the Canvas inbox for a response within 24 hours. If I am not your class librarian, email me at
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You 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 retrieval 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 ideasprobing issuessolving 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.



Understand your Assignment: What topics can you explore? Are any topics off limits? How long is the finished product? How many and what type of sources are required? Will you be describing, analyzing, comparing, solving, or persuading? When is it due?   Choose a Meaningful Topic: Research is an opportunity to explore topics relevant to you and your life.  If your topic isn't personally meaningful, the research process will quickly become tedious. If you have trouble connecting with a topic, your MJC librarians will have lots of ideas to help.   Assess Available Resources: Before you commit to a topic, run it through a few databases to ensure there is plenty of credible information available to fuel your research. Compare the types of sources required with what you are finding. Problems? Talk to a librarian ASAP.   Do Some Background Reading: Familiar websites are great as you begin to develop your ideas. They also help you identify search terms and tune into important conversations unfolding around your topic. Seeing how others discuss your topic can provide useful ideas on how to refine your paper.   Create Research Questions: They help shape your paper, plus save you time as you focus on finding sources answering specific questions. As your research progresses, you may revise and even add to your questions. Research librarians are happy to help you develop questions to get you started.   Gather Your Sources: Find high quality sources answering your research questions. Follow the assignment's source guidelines and rigorously evaluate everything you plan on including in your bibliography. Be sure to follow the  citation style set out by your professor.   Read, Reflect, Write, Revise: It's simple: the more you read, think and write about your topic, the more you'll learn about it. Read your sources closely and often, tracking the information you plan to use. Get your ideas down on paper as they develop, and cite your sources as you go.   Utilize the L&LC: MJC librarians can help you get started with your project and assist you with every step of the research process. Learning Center staff can help ensure the grammar, spelling, and organization of your paper are turn-in ready. Visit us early and as often as needed!