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SSI1-168: Climate Change and the Law: Home

What is Research?

Research is a creative, nonlinear process.  Experienced scholars will tell you that they rarely end up exactly where they thought they would when they first started out.  You'll need to give yourself the time to pursue ideas, reconsider ideas in light of new information, and then craft an original, researched argument.

To be successful in college-level research, you will need to make use of the resources and services of the library.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • Much scholarship and information is not available freely on the web.  Libraries pool their resources to acquire on your behalf access to quality information sources such as databases, journal collections, and reference resources.
  • Many materials are not available electronically, either because they have not been digitized yet or their original creators do not wish to make them available digitally.
  • Libraries cooperate with one another to lend you items that are not immediately available in your home library.
  • Librarians are experts in the organization of knowledge and can help you find treasures that perhaps you didn't even know existed!

Getting Help

At Collins Library, your questions are always welcome!  Here are some ways you can continue to develop your research skills:

Types of Sources: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary

For your research assignments, professors may request that you use different types of sources, including primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.

Primary sources are the raw materials of research. They provide firsthand access to words, images, or objects created directly by the persons involved in the activity or event. The value of primary sources is that they allow the researcher to get as close as possible to the original work. It is important to note that the types of information that can be considered primary sources may vary depending on the subject discipline, and also on how you are using the material. Time is also a defining element.

Primary Source Examples: works of art, music, fiction or poetry, statistics, original scientific research, letters, diaries, and interviews.

Secondary sources discuss, report on, or provide commentary about primary sources. They are important to researchers as they offer an interpretation of information gathered from primary sources.

Secondary Source Examples: journal, magazine & newspaper articles, biographies, monographs.

Tertiary sources  present summaries, condense, or collect information from primary and/or secondary sources. They can be a good place to look up facts, get a general overview of a subject, or locate primary and secondary sources.

Tertiary Source Examples: encyclopedias, dictionaries, textbooks, handbooks, timelines, bibliographies.

 

 

Types of Sources: Popular and Scholarly

Scholarly sources present sophisticated, researched arguments using both primary and secondary sources and are written by experts. Journals are examples of scholarly sources.

Popular sources aim to inform or entertain and are intended for a general, non-specialized audience.  In academic writing, popular sources most often are analyzed as primary sources. Magazines are examples of popular sources.

To determine the difference between these two types of sources, ask yourself:

  • Who reads them?
  • Who writes them?
  • Who decides what get published in them?
  • What's in them?
  • What do they look like?
  • When are they available?
  • What can you use them for?

 

Social Sciences Liaison Librarian

Andrea Klyn's picture
Andrea Klyn
Contact:
Office: LIB 141
253.879.2875

Work with a Peer Research Advisor!

Fall 2020

Hannah Turner and Allie Highsmith are your Peer Research Advisors for 2020-21!
 
Virtual Drop-in Hours
Sunday through Wednesday:  6:30 to 8:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)
We use Google Meet: 
Meeting Phone Numbers: (‪US‬)‪+1 262-457-9538‬, PIN: ‪254 151 924#‬
Please be signed in to Puget Sound's Google Suite for Education.

 

Appointments

Allie and Hannah are also available for individual appointments.  Go to our Schedule a Research Appointment page, click the request button, and select either Hannah or Allie from the drop-down menu to see what appointment times they have available.