The research paper planner will provide you with resources and helpful tips to guide you through the steps of the research and writing process. To start, simply enter the dates that you plan to work on your paper.
The Writing Help Centre, located in room 142 of the Murray Library, offers free, one-on-one instruction in academic writing, online and in person. They also offer short writing workshops on topics such as punctuation, essay structure, documentation, and graduate writing.
The library offers a wide variety of workshops for undergrads and grad students to support academic learning. They are offered in-person and online. Recordings are also available if you can't catch them live.
Do some background reading. No matter what the class, you can check out the following to get a general sense of your topic:
Your course readings or textbook for relevant reading or background information.
Ask your instructor for any suggested readings or references.
Check an encyclopedia for a broad overview of your topic. You can use a general encyclopedia or a more specialized one (ex: Encyclopedia of Sociology, Encyclopedia of Psychology or Shakespeare Name Dictionary).
Use a dictionary for terminology or concepts which you aren't sure about (ex: the word "crazy" in a common dictionary is very different from "crazy" in a legal, medical or psychological one).
Read articles in popular or newsstand magazines if the assignment is contemporary and topical. (While these are not considered scholarly, they can be useful in identifying current issues.)
The video below, created by the now-defunct Cooperative Library Instruction Project, explains that you cannot cite Wikipedia as a source for your academic paper. (Just like you would never cite any other encyclopedia!)
However, reading articles on Wikipedia, just like in any other encyclopedia, is a good way to get an overview of your topic. You can find keywords and background information, which you can then use to search more effictively through the library catalogue or journal databases for scholarly sources.
You can also use the Wikipedia article's References list and External Links to help you find more sources.