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Step-by-Step Guide & Research Rescue: Computers

This guide will help you understand how to efficiently and effectively do basic research.

Step 1. Locate Computer Background Information

This guide leads you through the research process for Academic Freedom topics. For general tips on the research process, click on the Basic Research Strategy tab above.

Related Subject Guide - Computer Science


For Specialized print encyclopedias, use the Social Sciences/Education Reference collection, Level 1:

  • Cybercrime: A Reference Handbook (Soc Sci Ref H 1 .C65x 2004L)
  • Encyclopedia of Computer Science (Sci Ref QA 76.15 .E48 2003)- available online through Credo Reference
  • The Internet and Society: A Reference Handbook (Soc Sci Ref H 1 .C65x 2007c)
  • Internet Security Dictionary (Sci Ref TK 5105.59 .P56 2002)- available online through ebrary; to access use the Books & Moresearch
  • McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (Sci Ref Q 121 .M3 2007)
  • Networking A to Z (Sci Ref TK 5105.5 .M8653 2003) - available online through ebrary; to access use the Books & Moresearch

For Specialized online encyclopedias, use the following databases. For subject specific background resources, use the Computer Science Subject Guide.

Step 2. Develop & Narrow Your Topic

After reading Background Resources, you should be able to fill out the following "From Topic to Research Focus" formula.  NOTE: This is NOT the same as your Thesis Statement.  Your Thesis Statement is developed after you read Research Materials about your issue/question, determine your stance, and decide how you will present your attitude/angle/argument. For examples of how to use the "From Topic to Research Focus" rubric, click on the Develop and Narrow Topic tab at the top of this page.

1)  I am researching ______________________________________ (topic)
2)  because I want to find out _______________________________  (issue/question)
3)  in order to ____________________________________________ (application)

Organize your Research Focus into concepts: identify terms, think of synonyms, and organize them using this chart.

(Concept 1) _______________ OR ______________ OR ______________ (Synonyms for Concept 1)

AND (Concept 2) ___________ OR ______________ OR ______________ (Synonyms for Concept 2)

AND (Concept 3) ___________ OR ______________ OR ______________ (Synonyms for Concept 3)

Step 3. Find Research Materials for Computer topics

For Books use the Books & More search to find specific titles from the bibliographies you noted above. Use the Books & More - Advanced Search to find additional books on your issue question. Referring back to the concept chart above, enter your keyword search, one concept for each box.

For Articles use the Articles & More - Advanced Search selecting Collection: Engineering & Technology and Communications. Referring back to the concept chart above, enter your keyword search, one concept for each box. Click Go to begin the search. Click on the title of the article to read the abstract. Click the Full Text Available and Check for Full Text to view the entire article.

To retrieve additional articles, connect to the databases linked below, or select them from Databases A-Z in the Databases & Journals box on the Library Home Page. Depending on how you have narrowed your subject, other databases listed on the Computer Science Subject Guide may also be appropriate.

Steps 4 & 5: Evaluating Research Materials & Writing Your Paper

For tips on Evaluating Research Materials & Writing Your Paper, click on the Basic Research Strategy tab above.