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Library Orientation for Education Students

Do a "background check" on your topic

In this tab you'll find information about where to start your research and what kinds of words to use in your search. 

You want to begin your research by finding useful background and contextual information on your research topic. When you have an idea for a topic you might want to research, check out Google and encyclopedias (even Wikiipedia works for this!) to find out the who, what, when, where, and, why of your topic. You'll be able to do better research in a library database when you know more about your topic. Also, knowing more about your topic will give you ideas about the terms you might want to use in your search. 

Coming up with search terms (Keywords)

Before you search, take a moment to think about what you are looking for. What words are you going to use in your search? This is a step most people skip, but it is something that will help you if you aren't finding the kinds of results you want (or not finding any useful results at all.) 

Below is a video from the University of Houston libraries that discusses thinking about synonyms and related concepts to create good search terms (keywords.) They make a really important point here--the way that you might describe something isn't necessarily how someone else might describe it. Keep that in mind when you search, and don't be afraid to try different words and combinations of words. 

How do I decide whether a website is a credible source?

You are going to encounter all kinds of websites as you research using Google (or another search engine.) This video will give you some information about how to determine what a website's point of view is. You need to consider what effect a resource's bias might have on the way it presents information.