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Research Assignments: The Details

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What Types of Sources are Appropriate

  • primary or secondary sources
  • popular or scholarly articles
  • government documents
  • data/statistical sources
  • editorials/opinion pieces
  • crowd-sourced information


  • primary vs. secondary sources
  • reference sources
  • monographs vs. collected/edited volumes
  • peer reviewed journals
  • review articles or literature reviews

Sources to be Used or Avoided

NB try to be sparing with blanket prohibitions (e.g. "don't use Google or the web" )

  • e.g. use PsycINFO to find a report of a clinical study
  • e.g. use the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy for information on the life and work of W.V.O. Quine
  • e.g. use OBIS/OhioLINK Library Catalog to find books or videos beyond class readings
  • e.g. don't cite Wikipedia as an authority

Confirm Resource Availability

  • use reserve services when many students will need the same sources
  • provide links to required or recommended sources when possible
  • give complete citations to sources you expect students to locate independently
  • indicate whether alternate versions or editions are acceptable
  • verify holdings and access to key sources
    • access to electronic books, journals, and databases can change without notice

Convey Expectations for the Finished Product

  • indicate your preferred citation style
  • format preference (e.g. hard copy, electronic or both)
  • printing preferences (single or double-sided)
  • file type preferences (.doc, .pdf, .xls)
  • length (number of pages or word count)
  • other preferences:
    • margins, point size, image types, slide background, graphs/charts
Last updated:
September 19, 2013