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Agriculture and Bioresources 492/494: Tutorials for Finding and Evaluating Information Sources

This guide contains two modules designed to assist 492/494 AgBio students in contributing to the scholarly conversation in their fields, and finding and retrieving relevant and credible information.

Welcome to Module 2

Learning Goal

This module is the beginning (or continuation) of establishing good researcher habits. Good researchers are curious, embrace ambiguity, undertake detective work, are critical, seek out multiple perspectives, uncover "unheard" voices, and give credit.

In sections 2.1 - 2.5, you will consider a variety of search strategies and search tools that can be used to search for and retrieve information on your research topic. You'll begin by deconstructing your thesis topic in order to identify keywords and phrases to search for. You will identify synonyms and related terms for those main concepts, combine and truncate keywords, and develop a search strategy that works best in your particular context. To manage the above, you will document your research and consider using a reference manager like Mendeley or Zotero.

Learning Outcomes
  • By deconstructing your thesis topic and learning search strategies and techniques, you will determine the best way to search for relevant information.
  • By thinking carefully about the information you need, you will be able to decide which search tools to use in order to find the information.
  • By learning how to reference track (backwards and forwards), you will be able to extend your search.
  • By using a research log and a reference manager, you will be able to document your search process and manage your sources.