Getting Started

Understanding the Assignment


getting started search strategy searching evaluate, cite, write

Think about the nature and requirements of the assignment. This will help you make important decisions about the research process.

What types of sources are you expected to include?
  • Secondary sources: previously published research that is summarized in books or periodical articles.
  • Primary sources: original documents (e.g. government bills) or accounts of firsthand original research conducted by the author of the article or the report.
  • Field research: your original research (e.g. interviews or surveys).
Length of assignment?
  • If you are writing a five-page paper you would in most instances not require as many sources as you would for a fifteen-page paper.
  • Don't let yourself get overwhelmed by trying to include too many sources for a relatively short paper!
  • It is always wise to begin your research as soon as possible.
  • What sources are you able to obtain locally or online?
  • If you need print based materials from AU Library, you will need to allow time for delivery: generally 7-10 days to a Canadian address.
  • As you write your paper you may discover gaps in your research and need time to locate additional information.
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