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GEOL 370: Geochemistry of Natural Waters

Professor Bereket Haileab, Winter 2010

Keeping track

While you're researching, it's helpful to keep notes in some form or another.  This could be a text file on your computer, handwritten notes in a notebook, or some other form that you've found that works for you.  The important thing is to keep track of where you've been, what you've looked at, and what worked and what didn't.

Some things you'll want to keep track of...

Searches you've conducted

  • Where did you search?
  • Which search terms did you use
  • (** the searches that worked really well
    Cross out those that didn't work at all
  • Other notes on your searches

Sources you've found

  • What did you find?
  • How will it help you?
  • How can you get to it again (URL for webpage, folder location if you've downloaded an article, call number of a book)
  • Other notes on your sources

Some thoughts on research...

Research is not a linear process. Instead, it is a matter of trying something, evaluating and learning from the results, refining your strategy, trying something else, and exploring lots of possibilities. It should be a fun thing - finding new information and thinking about what that might mean for your topic.  This list below is not meant to be taken literally as a strict procedure; instead these are questions to keep in mind as you do your research.  

Remember also that the librarians are here to help.

Getting Started

1.   What discipline or disciplines am I working in?
  Some tools:

·   Subject research guides: library web site -> Find -> Subject Research Guide

·   Databases by subject: library web site -> Find -> Electronic Resources: Full list by subject

2.   What sources do I already have?
Do they mention other sources of information or data (bibliography)?
Do they use specific terminology or wording?
Do they talk about particular places, people, or agencies?

3.   What type of literature or information do I need?
Who might collect that information?
Who would be interested in it?

4.   How and where will I search for the information I need?

5.   How will I access the information that I find?

6.   What keywords or terms could be used to describe my topic?

7.   After running a few searches: What results am I getting?  Am I getting too many results?  Too few?

8.   What refinements should I make to my search in light of those results?

9.   How will I use the results that I’ve found?

10. What information am I still missing?


Ann Zawistoski
Libe 469
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