If you’ve ever seen Shark Tank, you’re already familiar with the importance of research. The entrepeneurs have to know their markets to convince the sharks (high-level business people) that their proposals offer something new and worthwhile; without research, they have little hope of being persuasive.
The same is true in academic work. We typically deal in knowledge rather than products, but the situation is fundamentally the same: knowing the literature in your field helps you formulate and pitch your ideas.
How do you find good sources, the truly key ones, and how do you incorporate them into your writing so that they back up your argument without taking it over?
If these questions have been gnawing at you, sink your teeth into this section's resources. The links on this page offer an overview of how to approach research. Not sure what you're looking for? See our page on Research Questions.
Once you find sources, you'll want to know how to extract information from them effectively; check out our section on Note-Taking for some great advice on staying organized. Wondering how to use that information in your own work? See Joining the Academic Conversation and Source Blending—and be sure to give credit where credit is due with proper Citations. If you'd like some robotic assistance with keeping track of sources, our Reference Software page has what you're looking for.
For tips on using the library to find what you need, sign up for the next session of our "Research Quickstart" workshop. The library also offers great tips on how to search databases. Additionally, each department has a designated library liaison; they'll be more than happy to help you in your research quest. Want to research smarter and faster? Sign up for our "Saving Time in Research" workshop (or watch the video, "How to Research"). Workshops are offered in the first four weeks of each quarter; you can sign up during workshop season through WCOnline. See the whole workshop list here.
Key Research Links
- Thinking of conducting any research that might even possibly be Human Subjects Research—or have no idea what that means? Peruse NPS's Institutional Review Board website and view the "Going Straight to the Source" presentation.
- Already comfortable with research but need help on citations? See our Citations section.
- Also be sure to get acquainted or reacquainted with the NPS Honor Code, which sets forth guidelines for maintaining an ethical academic relationship with the work of others.
More Research Links
- NPS-specific video (17:58): "Research Methods: An Introduction," Dennis Hocevar and Lauren Wollman, NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security
- NPS-specific video (14:30): "Developing a Research Plan," Paul M. Pitman and Lauren Wollman, NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security
- Book: The Craft of Research, 3rd ed., Wayne C. Booth et al., University of Chicago
- Book: Practical Research Planning and Design, Paul D. Leedy, Pearson
- Book: Writing Matters: A Handbook for Writing and Research, Rebecca Moore, McGraw-Hill