Make an outline of the information you need
Will you want to find background information from encyclopedias or news articles? Do you need statistics? How about recent studies that have been published? Come up with a list of information that you need to know about your topic.
Categorize the type of research
Now go through and categorize the type of information that you have identified in your outline. Here are a few possibilities to get you started:
Brainstorm ways to find the information you need
If you get stuck, contact a librarian for more help! You will be able to find your information using databases, Google searches, and in books
How do you know if your sources are authoritative?
The sources should be reputable.
Who is the publisher?
A university press or professional organization may indicate authority. A periodical with the “journal” in the title usually indicates greater complexity and depth of articles than a popular magazine.
A page's URL can also give clues:
How do you know if your sources are scholarly?
Check for advertisements.
Ads, especially in the middle of articles, may indicate that a periodical is more popular than scholarly. Illustrations, such as tables, graphs, or charts, should add to the textual information. Illustrations used for entertainment purposes or to draw the eyes may indicate the source is more popular than scholarly.
How do you know if your information is current enough?
Very current sources need to be used when the field or topic is changing rapidly. Use historical sources when appropriate.
When was the source published?
Locate the date in a book or journal by looking for the copyright information. On a website, look for the "last updated" information.