Welcome to your Portland State University Library (PSU) course guide for the sophomore inquiry cluster, Leading Social Change! Here you will find useful information about Library resources and services to support your college success! Take time to browse the web pages that you can access from the navigation bar. There are videos and screenshots that describe key ways to approach your research for papers and presentations.
If you have any questions, Ask a Librarian!
Before you start searching for sources, you need to know the nuts and bolts of your topic. Background information will help you:
Background research can take many forms, such as general googling or reading a wikipedia article. However, subject encyclopedias are trustworthy, academic sources written by experts on the subject. Subject encyclopedia entries, or articles, also include a list of references, or further reading on the subject, that you can also use for your research.
There are multiple ways to describe one idea or object. Watch this 2 minute video about the importance of synonyms in searching.
As you start doing general reading to get an overview of your topic, here are some questions you may want to answer in your note-taking:
Scholarly subject encyclopedias provide background information about specific topics. Entries or articles, written by scholars or subject experts, include bibliographies or suggested readings that will lead to more information on your topic.
You can use subject encyclopedias to identify keywords for your research in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
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