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MS - 7 - Rome Project 2018/19: Research Strategies

When in doubt...ASK!

When doing research, remember to take advantage of every resource.  Don't work SMARTER!  Ask any librarian for help when you get stuck or feel overwhelmed.  We are here to offer every assistance we can.

1. Understand Your Assignment

  • Know what your are being asked to do
  • Highlight key words and due dates on your assignment
  • Be able to restate the assignment in your own words
  • Always have your assignment next to you when you are working
  • Take a look at background information found in the following sources:
    • general encyclopedias, reference books
    • textbooks
    • general dictionaries
    • Background info = Common Knowledge
  • Once you have background knowlege, develop research questions:
    • Write down what you already know or don't know about your topic
    • Using that information, develop questions you would like to answer when doing your research
    • Use probing questions such as why? how? what if? should? 
    • Avoid questions that can be answered with YES or NO

3. Choose Resources

  • Use the skim and scan technique within the source—read captions, bold headings, etc.
  • Use the index to search for topics within a book.
  • Use CMD+F to locate your keyword within a source--if it is a PDF file, you will need to download the file first.
  • Look for sources that support both sides of an argument to get a clear picture of your issue.

5. Organize Your Notes

  • Look for common themes and different ways to organize your thoughts.
  • Make certain you have facts to support your opinions.
  • Did you answer the questions you were asked?

2. Locate Useful Information

  • Use the sources provided in this Research Guide.
  • The search terms or keywords you use to search are what determine the results you get.
  • Generate keyword search terms by identifying the main ideas or concepts within the topic sentence
  • Keep a list of search terms. (searching "history of clocks" will not help--be specific: "timepieces in history" or "measuring time" or "horology"
  • Use your assignment handout for other terms. 
  • Expand your search terms by brainstorming related terms or synonyms that describe your main ideas:
    • Money: currency, banking, usury, coinage, cowrie, barter
    • Globalization; development, growth, proliferation
    • History; ancient meaning, orgination
    • Maps: cartography, topography 

4. Taking Notes

  • Always begin by keeping the bibliographic information for all the sources you use
  • Use bullet point summaries of the information you need.
  • NEVER copy & paste text from an online source.

Sample Notes: 


  • take notes here in bullet points


Andrade, Tonio. "Beyond Guns, Germs, And Steel: European Expansion And Maritime Asia, 1400-1750." Journal of   Early Modern History,Vol. 14, no. 1/2, 2010, pp. 165-186. Academic Search Complete,,uid

  • Significant developments in the New World versus the Old (find book in the library Guns, Germs, and Steel)
  • Trade significantly expanded between Europe and Asia between 1492 and 1650= Age of Exploration and resulted in "Age of Commerce" 

6. Final Product

  • Did you check your work against the assignment outline? 
  • Did you check your work against the rubric?
    • Can you check off the requirements?
  • Did you answer the questions you were asked?
  • Does your bibliography accurately reflect the resources you used?