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Research & Writing Guides: Searching for Information
Do you have a research paper assignment and don't know where to begin? No problem! This page contains links to tutorials, handouts, and other tools to help you learn how to find the information you need.
Okay, so you're thinking, "Can't I just Google the information I need?" Of course you can! Google is awesome, but a library database is a different kind of research tool that can help you get access to reliable sources that may not be freely available on the web.
This brief video explains the advantages of library databases:
Not sure which databases to try? The Recommended Databases page will help you select the best resources for your research paper topics.
If you don't yet have a topic and need some ideas, these resources can help.
You've chosen a topic, but before you begin searching for sources, take some time to plan a strategy. The following resources can help.
Concept mapping can help you to identify key search terms for finding sources on your topic. It can also help you to organize your paper and decide what aspects of your topic you want to cover. You can brainstorm search terms related to your topic by simply writing them down, but if you want to take a more visual approach, you can start with this Concept Map Worksheet [PDF], or try one of the following concept mapping tools.
You might be familiar with using Google Scholar to search for information from scholarly sources, but did you know there's a way to make it even more useful? The link above is a customized link that automatically plugs Google Scholar into MDC's library databases to increase your access to full text materials. Entering Google Scholar through this link enables you to see which of your search results are freely available in MDC's databases, and provides direct links to those resources.