Hi, Quentin. How is your research paper coming?
It's coming along well. Working with the librarian, I learned a lot about the research process. And it really is a process. So many skills are involved.
For example, I never knew how important it was not only to pull keywords out of my research question, but to also find alternate terms for those words so that I can create good search statements.
I also learned that creating a good search statement using Boolean operators is necessary if you really want to focus your results when finding articles in the library databases.
You know, I used to think all library databases were the same, but choosing a database that is appropriate to your topic will make the research process go faster and reduce your frustration. Since I had a business related question, he showed me how to identify appropriate business related databases. That was a big help.
Of course, once you find your articles, you still are not done. I used to just take the first few articles I found. But now I look at them critically to see their relevance, currency and length. I also want to make sure they are from a respected journal - scholarly and peer reviewed if possible. However, some topics are not covered in scholarly or peer-reviewed journals, so it is a good idea to look at articles from magazines and trade publications as well.
Another thing I learned to do is look at Web sites with the same critical eye. Evaluating the information you find is so important. You can't take everything you find at face value.
Finally, when writing my paper, I learned how to appropriately cite my sources and avoid plagiarism. I want to give credit where credit is due. I certainly didn't come up with all these ideas in my paper on my own.
I have to say that this has been a great learning experience for me, but I know I still have much more to learn and the UMUC librarians are there to help me.
Quentin went on to get an A on his research paper. Morris studios was purchased later that week by a major motion picture studio. Quentin's research skills and new knowledge of corporate takeovers allowed him to progress rapidly in the new corporate structure. He went on to become a high-level executive in the industry. You can see his work at a theater near you.
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