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Identify a clear and narrow thesis statement.
Your thesis statement is your research roadmap. If specific and narrow, your thesis will guide exactly what kind of information you should find in your research.
For example: a research paper about the effects of noise pollution from boating or shipping on marine mammals is much more specific than a topic about the effects of ocean noise on marine ecosystems. With the narrower research topic, we know we will need to look for information about boating or shipping travel, ocean noise pollution, and marine mammal auditory function.
Use scholarly sources for all stages of research, including definitions of terms.
Library resources that can help with introductory material, definitions, and quick facts are encyclopedias and dictionaries available in the Reference Room and online such as Credo Reference and Oxford Reference Online.
Use a variety of scholarly sources in your paper.
Do not rely on the same few resources throughout your paper. Instead research thoroughly to find a variety of scholarly sources that help to support your thesis. Use the Bibliographies of articles to review a list of scholarship published on your topic.
Start your research with primary sources.
Primary sources in scientific research are the actual research studies conducted by scientists within their field. These article should be easily identifiable by their clear sections: introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.
Always follow the trails of research from the information you consult.
Whether it's a popular source magazine article, a secondary source journal article, or reports produced by committees or organizations, track down the studies mentioned in these publications. Often times resources like these reference studies conducted. You want to try to find the original research.
Make sure all sources cited are relevant to your thesis.
If your paper is about ocean noises effects on marine life, do not cite noise impact on humans, unless you can make the case why this is relevant to include.
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