Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Research Skills: A Blog Series from your ELI Library staff

You’ve made it to college!  Now what?

The transition from high school to college is easy for some, not so easy for others. As an online student, you may not need to worry as much about the “freshman 15,” but you will still need to worry about all of those research papers.  In high school, you probably had some experience finding sources, organizing information, and putting everything down on paper.  But expectations are higher in college, and often the expectations feel different than they did in high school.

The first piece of good news? Your professors care what you think!  In high school, your research papers were probably just an amalgamation of all of the information you could find in your school library on your topic.  But in college, you’re expected to take in all of that information and form an argument about the topic.  Your job is to find an interesting, and hopefully original, slant on a subject and convince your readers that your claim is sound.  How do you convince your readers? With evidence and information from reliable sources.

This brings us to the second piece of good news.  ELI Library staff are here to help you find those reliable sources.  Not only can we help you find them, but we can teach you to decide which sources are best. Not all sources are created equal, and not all sources will help to convince your readers that your argument is worthwhile.  The point of this blog is to present topics and information that will help you hone your research skills and meet, or exceed, your professors’ expectations.  These are skills that you will use throughout your college career.

Check back over the next several weeks for a new post.  Topics will include Scholarly vs. Popular Sources, Using Google and Wikipedia, Searching Databases, Citing your Sources, and more.  Don’t forget to take a look at the NOVA Libraries website to browse what kinds of sources are available to you.  And if you need to contact us, e-mail

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