Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

SLRC Continuity Resources during COVID-19

The library and academic coaching are still available to support students and employees during this time!

While you certainly have the Internet at your fingertips, grabbing a few likely webpages from your first page of Google search results isn't really what your professors mean when they ask you to do research.

How To Think About a Research Prompt

First, you need to get a clear idea of your topic: you don't want to be too broad (impossible to do in a relatively short paper or presentation) or too narrow (making it hard to find supporting evidence).

Then, when you're actually looking for sources, you want to be gathering the right type of info at the right stage of your research. There's a lot of factors here: getting credible, reliable info; making sure you're meeting your assignment guidelines; and finding info of the appropriate level of complexity for what you need it to do.


Related Guides:

A Few Starter Databases

Related Guide:

Citations

There's nothing special or different about citations for online students! Just remember that all those sources you got information and ideas from have to be documented in your paper or presentation. There are three main style guides your professor might ask you to follow: MLA (most common), APA (most likely in psychology, sociology, or speech classes), or Chicago (probably only history class).

If you're not sure which style to follow, double-check both your assignment instructions and your professor's syllabus (which will be posted in your course. If it doesn't say, send your professor an email to confirm what they want you to use!

 

Online Citation Guides:

Each of these guides contains a pre-formatted Word doc for you to download, as well as instructions and examples for how to document your sources in each style.


Managing Your Research

While conducting research you will need to capture the articles and associated citations. Your process will be very individual, but be consistent and choose a tool to help organize your research. Some suggested tools below:

OneDriveOneDrive - Cloud storage from Microsoft Office 365. 1 TB free for Lone Star College students.

 

EvernoteEvernote - The Basic version is free. Works across all mobile devices. Create notebooks for each course or writing assignment. Be sure to download the Web Clipper as well.

ZoteroZotero - Zotero is a free, open access extension that runs in the Firefox and Chrome browsers that's designed to gather, download, and tag your research. Helpful tutorials.

EasyBibEasyBib - Citation generator that is free for MLA.

Recommended Practices

  • Save article PDFs -- whether to your computer or via a tool like Zotero, etc
  • Rename your saved articles to start with the author's last name. This mimics your in-text citations and will help you cross-reference.
  • When you find a good article, go ahead and write out the citation for it! That way you can figure out what your in-text citation will look like. As you work on an outline or your paper, you can easily drop the citation in and avoid accidental plagiarism.