Understand Your Assignment
Before you begin your research, you should make sure you understand your assignment. Some good questions are:
• How many pages should it be?
• How many sources do I need?
• What kinds of sources? Books,
articles, websites? Scholarly or
• In what format should it be
San Jose State's Assignment Calculator is a good resource to help you determine how much time you have to complete various aspects of your research and writing, given your starting date and due date.
If you are unfamiliar with a topic, or not sure from what angle to approach your topic, you may want to start with background information. Some of the information that a background search can provide includes:
Good sources for background information include encyclopedias, your textbook, news sources, and library databases. Two library databases that are especially useful are CQ Researcher and Opposing Viewpoints in Context (Enter your 8-digit Student ID and password to access the databases):
For more sources of background information, visit the A-Z Databases Encyclopedias listing.
For off-campus access to the online databases and eBooks, you'll need your student ID. See our Off-Campus Library Services LibGuide for more information.
You can also renew your books online from home.