1. Knowing Your Information Needs

The first step to make your information search effective is to know your needs. Knowing your specific needs can help accomplish two things:

  • To choose the best resources (or research tools) to find specific kinds of information.
  • To come up with keywords or phrases to conduct effective searches.

Choosing Topics

If you are not sure about your topic (or needs), in addition to talking to your instructor for help, use the following resources to help you generate ideas:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Textbooks
  • Entries in Encyclopedias

Choosing Resources

There are several types of searching tools available:

  • If you need a published journal/magazine/newspaper article, use online databases or printed indexes.
  • If you are looking for background information on certain topics, use a reference book or surf the Internet.
  • If you are looking for statistical data, you may find it in a reference book, on a website, or through an online database.

Once you start using these resources, it is normal that you may want to modify your research direction, or further expand or narrow down your topic. Giving yourself plenty of time helps you handle the turns and shifts with ease. Always start your research as early as possible.

End of “Knowing Your Information Needs”

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