Five Steps to Conducting Good Research

Step 4: Understand the Variety of Information Sources

Who is more likely to have a more thorough understanding of the culinary treasures of their hometown?

  1. The family that eats at the same restaurant week after week
  2. The family that tries out a new restaurant each week

Whose money is safer?

  1. Someone who invests all of his or her money in one stock
  2. Someone who diversifies his or her investment portfolio

The same concepts apply to research. Habits are nice, but often they keep us from experiencing a wealth of opportunities. The person who uses only one source of information risks missing out on useful information, while the person who uses a variety of sources has a better chance to find the information needed. It might feel comfortable to use Google or whatever else you’re used to every single time you need to find information, but it also causes you to miss out on information that might be really useful to you.

Did you know that the MCC library offers all of these sources*?

  • Books / digital books
  • Subject-specific encyclopedias (for example, Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research)
  • Print newspapers / digital newspapers
  • Print magazines / digital magazines
  • Print journals / digital journals
  • Videos
  • DVDs
  • Special reports / digital reports

Each one offers you a different information experience. Combining different types of sources in your research will lead to a well-rounded understanding of your topic as well as varied support that appeals to your essay’s audience.

Guiding Your Research
What sources are the comfortable ones that you usually turn to first? Which of the source types in the list above are new to you but might have the kind of information you need for your current research paper?


*Would you like to learn how to find each of these types of sources? Visit Module II “Information Sources and Module III “Search Strategies , where you’ll learn more about these sources and how to search for information using all of the resources available to you through MCC’s Hendrik Meijer Library.


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