This page is designed to help you understand the research process and how it relates to your writing and assignments for this course. It is also meant to serve as a touchpoint to access the library's services and contact Fitchburg State's librarians.

Library Homepage



Some helpful 1-2 page "Quick Guides" on research process topics:

Search Strategy and Keyword Development


Keyword Searching vs. Subject Searching


When and How to Use Quotation, Paraphrase, and Summary



Evaluating Sources

Finding sources is easy. Finding authoritative, reliable, trustworthy sources can be difficult, particularly when these sources are found on the web. This is because the internet lacks any sort of oversight or control over what gets published. In some cases this is a positive thing, as when new ideas are shared, but it also means anyone with a computer - from an expert to a novice (or worse, someone disseminating misinformation) can make a page that looks credible, but may not be. This is why your professor usually prefers that you use sources from books and scholarly journals, which can be found through the library.

This one-page guide relates specifically to evaluating a web source, but it's "evaluation checkpoints" (with the handy acronym: CRAP) can be used with any source:
  • Currency - How recently was this written? Is it out of date or superseded by new information?
  • Reliability - How can you tell the information in the source is correct? Are there citations? Links to other documents? Was it published by a known publisher or organization?
  • Authority - Who is the author? Are they an expert or do they have credentials in this field? How do you know?
  • Point of View - Is the information an opinion? Is it biased? Are there broad conclusions drawn with little evidence?




Citing Sources

Citation serves a real scholarly purpose above and beyond checking to make sure you did your work - it leaves a trail for future scholars to follow, so the basis of your argument is understood. We cite to provide evidence, but also to provide context so the full implications and rationale of your position makes sense. We cite in a particular style so that the trail is uniform and recognizable across space (between countries, for instance) and time (so researchers in 100 or 200 years can follow our ideas.)

These shortcuts should provide you with a good overview of how to cite in MLA:

How to Cite Sources - Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library

Purdue OWL - MLA Formatting and Style Guide



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