The ultimate goal of research is to find evidence to support your ideas about an issue or problem. Think about research as becoming involved in a conversation. This conversation, however, includes "speakers" that are documents found in books, articles and/or on the World Wide Web. Some of the speakers may be long dead, some are still actively participating and some may not even be alive yet!
The goal of this tutorial is to help you learn more about finding the evidence you need to hold up your end of a "scholarly conversation" in your field. The three sections build upon one another and are presented in the same stages you will encounter as you do research:
Exploring your topic - to identify and focus your topic, find background information on it, and show you how to begin exploring what others have said about it.
Refining your search - to look for more specific pieces of evidence to support your opinions and claims and to begin articulating your position in the conversation. This section will help you develop strategies to evaluate which information to select, show you how to develop more effective search strategies and how to identify other leads to follow to get to the "right" information.
Engaging with your sources - to become fully engaged in the conversation, documenting the validity of your position, and crediting the other "speakers" whose work you have used to establish your position. This section will cover more in-depth validation of your chosen sources and will help you learn to cite your resources properly to avoid plagiarism.