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College 101: Getting to Know Your Library: Step 2: What is research?

This guide provides a virtual tour and introduction to your TCC Library

What does it mean to research for an assignment?

desk with lamp iconWhat is a research assignment?

What is research?

In many of your classes at TCC, your instructor will ask you to do research. Although the term research can have different meanings, when your instructor mentions "research" they usually mean the collecting of information about a particular subject.

The research process refers to the steps you take to locate written, oral, and visual information about a topic and then how you use that information to inform your thinking about that topic.

What are research papers?

When an instructor asks you to write a research paper, they mean that the topic and the ideas you write about must be "informed" by outsides sources that are relevant to your topic, and contain reliable information related to your topic.

In general, a good research paper provides a good balance of your own ideas and the ideas of outside sources that have shaped your own ideas.

What are "sources"?

A source is simply anything that contains information. The kinds of sources you will use depend on the type of project your are assigned and the topic you choose to research. Examples of sources include:

  • books
  • magazine, journal, and newspaper articles
  • websites
  • podcasts, blogs, zines                                                                    
  • government documents
  • film, documentaries, television programs
  • interviews
  • images and sound
  • objects

What's the difference between a "source" and a "resource"?

​Instructors may interchangeably use the terms sources or resources. If they say "resource" think: source!

Does it matter what kind of source it is?

If the source is reliable and appropriate to the type of paper you have been assigned, it may not matter whether the source is in print, audio, video or electronic format. It is the quality of the information, and how you use it, that is important. When you have questions about this, clarify with your instructor, and remember, the Research Desk in the library is the ideal place to go for research help of any kind.

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