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MUS 160: Humanities Learning Community

Guidance for completing your annotated bibliography and research paper

Types of Resources

There are many different types of resources you might use for your research paper. All of these resources serve different purposes. Before you start searching, think about the kind of information you need. 

If you need background information

You have a general idea about what you want to study, but aren't sure what kinds of question to ask. Doing some background research can help you become more familiar with a broad topic, and can help you narrow down your research question. 

For background research, you will usually want to turn to sources like encyclopedias and other reference works. Some books can give great background information as well. 

Many encyclopedia entries will also offer bibliographies where you can find articles that might be relevant for your topic. 

Starting your Search

Search OneSearch

Do a basic keyword search in OneSearch to find books, articles, media, and more.

Searching for Articles

If you need scholarly articles

You may have been told that you need to find scholarly articles. But what are scholarly articles, and how do you know if you've found one? A scholarly article is something that was written by an expert about the research that he or she is doing. The articles are reviewed by other experts in a process called peer review. Peer review is a way to ensure that the work being published is of a high quality and meets the research standards of a particular subject area.

Many journals that publish scholarly articles are only available from libraries. You can search for articles in collections of articles called databases. Many databases are subject specific, meaning they only include titles in particular subject areas. Some of them are more general. 

Before you start searching in a particular database, spend some time thinking about your topic and how you might want to search. 

This worksheet will help you think through your topic, come up with some good search terms, and evaluate whether an article will be useful for your research paper.