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Upward Bound: Academic Research

This guide was created to help Upward Bound students navigate the University of Iowa Libraries.

University of Iowa Libraries

Defining your topic

Begin by clearly mapping out the concepts you want to research. This will help you identify the key terms and concepts you should use when searching electronic databases and print research resources.

Clarify your understanding of the topic by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What level of research does your assignment require? Is it a brief class presentation or are you preparing to write a research paper with a bibliography and footnotes?
  • What do you already know about your topic?
  • What are the main issues?
  • Does your topic deal with historical or current events?
  • Has your lecturer required that you consult certain types of materials such as popular or scholarly journals, newspapers, or a particular database?

Selecting and Using the Best Research Resources

Scholarly vs. Popular Publications

Web vs. Library Resources

University Press vs. Regular Publishers

Evaluating resources

Critically analyze information sources to evaluate the authority and quality of the books and articles you located. If you have found too many or too few sources, you may need to narrow or broaden your topic. Check with a librarian or your instructor.

  • Who is the author?
  • How current is the information?
  • How in-depth is the information? Is it accurate?
  • Can you see any bias?
  • What is the domain?

Evaluating Information

Video Tutorials

Short (1-5 minute) flash videos about library services and resources

Online@Iowa Tutorials - Using the Library