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Research Starter Guide

Research & Instruction Librarian

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Kala Dunn
Edens Library

How do we use our sources?

You want to make sure that you evaluate your sources so you know you are using credible, relevant, and recent research! This is one of the many methods to help evaluate your sources.


The 5 W's and 1 H

  • Who- Who is the author? Are they an expert?
    • Anyone can make a claim but do you trust just anyone?

  • What- What does this source say? Is it relevant to you?

  • When- When was it published? Is it current/up to date?

  • Where-  Where was the source published?

  • Why- Why was it written? What is the author's purpose?

  • How- How did the author prove their research? Evidence?


Check for Bias from your author! Is the author writing with from an emotional or factual standpoint?





Doing Ethical Research


This means citing anything that is not your own creation!


  • Campus Plagiarism Policy
    • Plagiarism, including, but not limited to, the use, paraphrasing, or direct quotation of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment... Using the ideas and/or words of another writer and representing them as one’s own is plagiarism, whether those words come from printed source material or from the Internet. All source material-whether directly quoted or paraphrased-must be properly cited, and direct quotes must also be identified as such with quotation marks. Omitting quotation marks from direct quotations-including brief phrases-is considered plagiarism, even when the student cites the source.


You wouldn't want someone passing off your work as their own!!


Resources to help with your citations:

Purdue Online Writing Lab

They have simplified explanations and examples of the most commonly used source types for APA, MLA, Chicago, IEEE, AMA, and ASA citation styles. The information provided will be based on the most recent version of those style guides.


APA Style Guide

Has the most recent APA citation style guide, tips for formatting your papers, and grammar examples.



Has the most recent MLA citation style guide, tips for formatting your paper, and a citation generator**

**The citation generator can be helpful in getting started BUT should always be checked against an official citation style guide.


MLA Handbook

Has the most recent MLA style guide, examples, and paper formats. This is subscribed to through the college, you have to be signed into your account in order to access the materials.