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Tarleton State University Libraries Unit 3
WRAP-UP: Using a Research Process
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Remembering to think critically about your research tasks, sources, and tools before attempting to locate information can save you time, as well as yield better returns on the energy you invest in researching.

As a reminder of this unit's contents, a brief summary of research process activities, research strategies, and library resources follows:

•  Define your information needs.
Ask questions about the breadth, depth, type, and currency requirements for the information.
•  Select information sources.
Determine which sources would yield desired information based on the characteristics of specific information sources (i.e. books, reference works, journals, magazines, newspapers, and Internet materials).
•  Choose search (finding) tools.
Use each search tool's characteristics and purpose to inform your decisions about which tool(s) to use. Possible search tools include library catalogs, periodical indexes & abstracts, library databases, and Internet search tools.
Search for and locate research materials.
Learn to use the search tools efficiently, keep a research log, and apply what you learn about the organization of information and library services to help you obtain materials.
•  Evaluate research materials.
Examine the materials critically to determine their appropriateness to your information needs, project's purpose, and reader expectations.

Now that you are more familiar with research activities and strategies and better acquainted with specific library sources and tools, you probably want to start working on research projects associated with your academic or personal endeavors and practicing what you've learned.

First, however, you should learn more about using research tools efficiently so that the time you spend looking for information is more fruitful. Therefore, the next unit offers tips for creating effective and efficient searches using both print and online tools.

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Library Orientation Site Index
Updated 7/2004