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Reference and Instruction Guide

Step 1

1- Brainstorming the topic

Brainstorming is a tool to help begin the writing process or a research assignment. One of the helpful brainstorming methods is webbing that provides structure for ideas and facts. Brainstorming webs provide students with a flexible framework for idea development, organizing and prioritizing information. Major topics and central concepts are at the center of the web, and subtopics and sub-concepts are linked to the core concept to support details or ideas. 

Following, there is a brainstorm web example showing the main topic of research is " Historical Period" with some subtopics such as "Political Events", " Human Rights" and more. Also, the subtopics may be expanded by some more sub-subtopics.

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Note: before starting to brainstorm you must understand the topic of your research. If there are some terms you are not sure about their meanings, check the available dictionaries and encyclopedias within the library collection. 

Note: to overcome the issue of finding subtopics and sub-subtopics, you may go to Google Scholar or the Library Article Search to see if you can find ideas within the resources.

Step 2

2- Searching for resources within the library collection (General tips)

Dunagan Library has subscription to various resources relevant to specific disciplines, multi disciplines, and general. Try out your search phrases by browsing in the resource search box. If you have questions about which databases or journals to use or how to find, go to " Databases" section of the Guides relevant to your program, or contact the librarian :, (432) 552-2396 or Chat online via FalconChat.

Useful hints for your search:

  • To make sure you are searching a group of words, put quotation marks around a phrase; for example, " Health Communication"
  • An asterisk (*), or truncator, at the end of a word will search for everything that begins with that group of letters in most databases; for example, comput* will return all words starting with four letters; computing, computer, compute, etc.  
  • You can also try a question mark (?) within a word to include multiple spellings. For example, wom?n will find both woman and women.
  • Focus your search by using Boolean operators; AND, OR, AND NOT
  • Consider using synonyms for words, e.g. society = culture, community, civilization, etc.
  • Broaden your search. If you don't find an article on your topic don't assume it hasn't been written. You might just be using the wrong terms or might be searching too specifically to find it. Try broader terms. For example, search for "Performing Arts" instead of " Drama". 
  • Look carefully at the results from your search. If there is a great article, look at the subject headings.

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Step 3

3- Evaluating the resources

After you make sure, all the resources are scholarly and peer-reviewed, you may evaluate them by the following list of questions:


CRAAP Test.Retrieved from 

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