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HHP 406

Research tools and strategies for all parts of the research project in Dr. Dasinger's HHP 406. Updated Spring 2021.

Find Sources: Great HHP Databases

For this part of the project, you will search for the bulk of your sources. This page is a little longer to cover finding, reading, summarizing, and evaluating sources, as well as APA citations. Successful work at this stage will help you later on. Some tips:

  • PML Search (to the left and the main search box on our library website) is a great place to find tons of info
  • Library resources have been cultivated and selected to be more reliable than Google, but be sure to evaluate every article you read
  • If you find an article we don't have, request it for free through Interlibrary Loan
  • Start broad with one or two words, then narrow and add keywords 
  • Use limiters (date, peer-reviewed, subject)
  • Run several searches
  • Scroll through a few pages
  • I like to start with a quick search and then go back and read and take notes later
  • Grab your citation
  • Contact me or chat with us if you need help!

Databases are collections of sources, often organized by subject matter. 

Each of the databases below contains peer-reviewed academic sources, but they may also contain things such as newspapers or conference proceedings. If you need help determining what kind of source you're looking at, ask me for help!

Find Sources: General Databases

These databases are not specific to HHP, but they are massive databases where you can find resources for just about any subject or topic.

Read Your Sources

Reading is a skill, just like using the library databases or writing a thesis statement. 

As you practice, you might find it helpful to read first, then evaluate, then summarize, but as you grow more experienced with reading scholarly articles you may be able to do these steps all at once. 

Erin's reading tips:

  • Know when to skim and when to read in-depth
    • Spend time on the intro and conclusion, topic sentences, thesis, and any action words that directly relate to your topic
    • Skim citations, charts and graphs, and any subsections outside your scope
  • After you read the abstract, propose your own question or hypothesis about what the authors researched. Were you right? How do you know?
  • You don't have to read in order
    • I always always read the abstract first 
    • Then I read the intro, then skip to the conclusion. Did the authors change their mind? How did they prove or disprove their argument? 
  • Take notes
  • Ask questions
  • Draw connections to other articles or prior knowledge 
  • At the end of each section or the full article, describe (out loud) what you have learned
  • Give yourself plenty of time

Taking Notes

Research suggests that we remember things better when we write them down. Taking notes also helps you organize your thoughts and synthesize different sources. Find a system that works for you!

  • Notecards
  • Sticky notes
  • Bullet journal
  • Print out your article and write in the margins 
  • Word Doc
  • PowerPoint

Try writing annotations instead of highlighting. Highlighting can be a valuable tool, but most of us tend to over-highlight. Highlighting only tells us that something was important but not WHY it was important. Annotation ideas:

  • Symbols such as stars, exclamation marks, or circles
  • Shorthand such as KP for "key point" or imp for "important" 
  • Bullet points 
  • Find the thesis
  • Quotation marks for what you might want to cite later
  • Note any questions, connections to other research, or connections to your prior knowledge
  • After reading, look away for ten seconds and then write down the main points that you remember

Summarize and Evaluate

Summarize (the what):

  • What is the main point or argument?
    • Look for the thesis or topic sentences
  • How would you describe this article to someone who was unfamiliar with the topic?
  • Consider actually summarizing out loud  - this will help you ascertain what you know
  • Read, then look away for ten seconds. Now describe what it was about without looking at the article. This will help you put the ideas in your own words and avoid accidental plagiarism. 
  • In general, your summary will be short and sweet

Evaluate (the how and why):

  • This will usually be the bulk of your annotated bibliography
  • Prove the article is credible, reliable, and useful for your research
  • Evaluation is a complex process that involves many factors and can't be boiled down to a simple checklist. However, there are some standard things you can look for. 
    • Author (expertise, credentials, field of study, other articles, why do you trust them, be wary of no author)
    • Publisher or journal (scholarly, peer-reviewed, seen as a credible source in the field)
    • Can you verify the information in another source
    • Bias
    • Does it fit with other research
    • Audience 
    • Purpose
    • Date (recent, timely, has anything changed)
    • Citations (follow the citation trail to find more sources) 
    • Does it relate, in some way or in some part, to your research question