This guide includes information and resources designed to aid you in locating research and managing sources for your senior comps project. For further assistance with your research, including finding information, using Zotero, and more, contact the research desk or schedule an appointment with your librarian.
Just like field research, library research is not a linear process. It is a matter of trying, evaluating and learning from the results, refining your strategy, trying again, and exploring possibilities. It can be fun and exciting to find new information, explore new directions, and think about what all of that might mean for your topic.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself as you approach the geologic literature. The answers can help you to narrow down the types of sources you look for and the places you search.
Do you need to geographically-specific information, or is the locale not important? For example: water quality data is location-specific, but articles about minerals containing europium need not be.
2. Resource or material:
Are you looking for information on a specific resource or material, be it a specific type of rock, or mineral or even energy resource?
Do you need information on a specific process or cycle?
Does your information need to be time-specific? Are you looking for information from a particular geologic time period?
You've found a few good sources, great! But for comps, you need to make sure you're doing a thorough literature review. Here's some ways to use relevant sources you already have to find some more:
While skimming through a source, pay attention to the terms or phrases that the author is using to describe your topic. Make note of any key phrases that you might add to your search.
Other things to watch for:
Pay attention to things like author names and affiliations. While you will almost certainly have some sources written by the same author, you want to avoid having all your sources written by the same person or coming from the same lab. You want to be sure you're bringing in multiple perspectives and voices.
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