We will take a few different approaches to research this semester with our various assignments. For the Innovation Paper, you will need to know basic information about the innovation, its history, and its contribution to your community. Wikipedia and general search engines like Google and Bing could be helpful here. It could also be helpful to find writers analyzing, assessing, or evaluating the innovation. What do people within or outside the community think about this innovation?
As the assignment description notes, the Innovation Paper focuses more on your analysis of the innovation than providing background information about the innovation. Depending on your topic, however, it may be helpful to direct your research toward different types of sources: popular, academic, or professional. The most helpful databases for scholarly sources will be JStor and Academic Search Complete (available through the library) and then Google Scholar. Note that JStor can help you locate specific journals relevant to specific fields. Some fields and professions have publications (journals, newsletters, blogs, etc.) that address news and issues relevant to members of the profession. For example, The Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) isn’t an academic journal, but it is a publication with relevant news and commentary for academics. Try to locate relevant professional organizations and their publications through your research.
Sources aimed at a more general audience (newspapers and magazines) can be found through LexisNexis and then from specific publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Slate, Salon, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The New Inquiry, Valid, Vox, and Medium. To find images and video clips to include in your presentations, try Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo.
Keep in mind that incorporating research into your papers and presentations will involve correctly citing your sources. For help with citations, you can consult the Purdue Online Writing Lab and NoodleBib (see “NoodleTools Citation Tool”). If you are interested in using a web-based tool for keeping track of sources and links and for helping with bibliographies, check out Zotero.
Here are some other tools that can help with research:
- Pinboard and Delicious. These bookmarking sites allow you to save and tag online articles and websites.
- Hypothesis. This tool allows you to highlight and annotate online articles and websites.
- Skim. This tool allows you to annotate .pdfs (Mac only).
- Evernote. This software helps you organize research notes, class notes, or anything else along these lines.