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Introduction to Doing Research

For those new or returning to research, this guide will help you to plan your research projects and use the library more effectively.

The Information Pyramid

To get a better idea of what kind of sources to use in your research, you can think of different types of sources and the information they provide as a pyramid.

By themselves, the individual blocks that make up a pyramid aren't very exciting, but together the result is an awesome structure. Likewise, one source is not enough to write a strong paper, but you can write a solid paper by synthesizing information gathered from a variety of sources.


Start at the Base

Just like the lower levels of a pyramid require the most stone blocks, the sources that have the most detailed information are at the bottom of the Information Pyramid.

Scholarly articles and books take the longest to read but are the most detailed, while magazines, newspapers, television programs, and online sources are the fastest to read but often contain less specific information and a more general overview.