IRIS 42: Information and Research Instruction Suite for two-year colleges

The Research Process

Select Sources

Select Sources Puzzle PieceIf you understand how information is organized, you’ll be better equipped to develop successful strategies to locate what you need.

Choose the appropriate tool for the type of information you need: library catalog? periodical database? Internet search engine?

Learn how each tool is organized so you can get the most from it. First, get more familiar with your topic by reading background or overview information in reference sources. Basic facts, issues, and context can help identify relevant keywords. Note subject terms and keywords that others use to describe your topic.

Search databases with logical combinations of relevant keywords to make the database do the work of sorting through thousands—or even millions of sources to find just those that might be useful.

Look closely at the results as you build a list of possible sources. Review to your task occasionally to help decide whether the information is appropriate (the right kind) and relevant (the right topic).


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