American University of Paris Library | How to Organize Research

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How to Organize Research

Where you see the lightbulb, there is a short tutorial.

How to begin:
Start by keeping two things in mind at all times -

1 - Before choosing a topic, THINK about your assignment. 

What is the final product?  A 10 page paper?  A group presentation?  A portfolio?
This should help you think how MUCH material you need. (one book? 5? 3 articles? 15?)

Think about the assignment itself.  Are you gathering opinions about a recent event?  You'll want web sites, newspaper articles and possibly interviews.  Interpretation of literature?  Critical articles and books are needed.  Your interpretation of a painting or statue?  You need yourself! Think about what TYPE of material you need.

2 - Choose a topic (one that INTERESTS you for a better result)

Look for sources on the AUP library webpage, in the library and on the web.  Part of your job is critical thinking.  You have to examine, choose, and evaluate your sources as well as the topic you are writing about!

Normally you should start at the library or library homepage for scholarly material.  You have resources available to you that most of the world does NOT.  Most of the databases and full text journals, books and articles available to you from the library homepage are NOT AVAILABLE FOR FREE over the internet. 

3 - Find Resources (check these links):

Journals/ejournals/Articles (Databases, Browse a list of Journals)
How to find and evaluate an article.

Local Books/ebooks (AUP catalog, Background/Reference, Free Books online)
How to find and evaluate a book.

Books in other Paris libraries and Document delivery (Other Paris Libraries, Catalogue Collectif de France(CCFr), Systeme universitaire de documentation (Sudoc), WorldCat)

Boolean Searching Techniques

Steps to Full Text (in case you found a citation but no fulltext listed in a database, book, article or webpage!)

Web Evaluation   Often you can use web sites in your research but you MUST be able to evaluate them to know if they are 'worthy' of scholarly consideration.

4 -Organize Research - notes/research log (Word file)/citation info

MLA format and Bibliography
Citation/Annotation Help (What is a citation? How do I create one?)
(Is there any easy way to organize citations??) 5 -
Draft - revise - draft - final paper

Backups - backups - backups

As an information literate person, you should be able to:

These are necessary skills to write a good research paper, choose what website to order books from, and know what information to trust in all circumstances!

"ACRL | Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education." ALA | Home - American Library Association. 02 July 2009 <>