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Quick Tips on Preparing for Research
Before you start:
- understand the key terms you may be using as well as the general area that interests you;
- think about ways to narrow your topic, making it as specific as possible (unless you have been given a specific topic to research!);
- create a thesis statement;
- list the main concepts (key words) included in your thesis statement (research question), then based on your readings;
- find as many synonyms as you can for each main concept. You are now ready to start searching in the library's catalogue and databases.
When you are looking for definitions or if you don’t know much about a specific subject, reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias become invaluable because they contain relatively short—and understandable—articles. These articles often lay out the parameters of a subject and can assist you in trying to narrow your topic. Often such articles are accompanied by lists of readings (bibliographies) which allow you to explore your topic further.
One of the very best general encyclopedias is: The Encyclopedia Britannica.
The Encyclopedia of Education. 1971. 10 vols.
There are also more specialized encyclopedias of education in print on such topics as Early Childhood Education, Educational Administration, and Educational Research. To find more using the catalogue, click on the subject heading: Education--Encyclopedias
At the moment, there is one online encyclopedia,The Encyclopedia of Language and Education. 2nd ed. 2008