This writing-intensive course aims to provide practical and cumulative skills in writing clearly, correctly and persuasively across disciplines and situations. The course assumes the importance of a close relationship among reading, thinking and writing, and operates on the premise that the practice of writing encourages thinking and promotes innovative, insightful reflection.
Library research is an essential part of this process. It involves following the "scholarly communication" as it develops, through publications.
When scholars research a topic, they start with what's already known and build upon it. The publication of scholarly articles and books documents the growth of information and allows others to participate by refuting, evaluating, commenting, and supporting each new step.
In this course you will be asked to write a research paper or annotated bibliography, and this guide provides you with the tools you need. Be sure to use the links from this page (or others on our website) to access databases and other resources; they identify you as a Trent student so you can access licensed material provided by the library.
Use the tabs across the top to navigate your way through this guide.
You can look for books or journal articles. Within each tab you'll find links to the most useful databases, tutorials on how to use them, and tips for working on your assignment.
If you haven't already read the three tutorials on the left or done the Library Skills course in Blackboard, I recommend you do this before you start searching. They'll help you understand the process better.
If you need help:
Keep in mind that the library staff can help you understand the process of finding your research material, but we can't do the work for you. Your work has to be your own.
Before you start searching, you should know what you want to find. There is no ONE PLACE to search for everything. Information is sometimes "owned" by an organization and you'll need to search a specific database to find it. The type of information you want determines where you look:
The keywords you select will affect what you find. Plan where you want to search and what terms you will search for. The plan may change as you find results and learn from them.
You need to find scholarly material for this research. What does that mean?
Look for material that published, not just put up on a webpage.
Once things are published, they're permanent and they can't be changed. If you use a published document, it doesn't matter if you accessed it online or in print - the document is the same.
Look at who the author is.
For more help identifying scholarly sources, see our tutorial.