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Honors College Co-Curricular Workshops

Complete your honors project successfully through this workshop series. This will help students build research, writing, and presentation skills.

Pearl Growing

Use the handout given to you at the start of the workshop to follow along.

1. Define what a primary source is in each subject area and give examples.

2. Write down your focused research topic/question. Discuss with a peer related topics that you need to explore. Create an outline, mind map, or storyboard to make the connections between the concepts.

3. Jot down the keywords, synonyms, and/or related terms for your major concepts. 

4. Using CAPOW as the foundations, identify element(s) that you should make a conscious effort to evaluate for your subject-specific research.

5.  Pick a database (below) that is relevant to your topic and find at least one article. Use your keywords to create a Boolean search strategy. Find at least one article relevant to your research and add the appropriate information to your research log.

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Beyond the Truthiness: Information as a Conversation

"And that brings us to tonight's word: Truthiness. Now I'm sure some of the word-police, the "wordanistas" over at Webster’s, are gonna say, "Hey, that's not a word!" Well, anybody who knows me knows that I am no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They're elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn't true, what did or didn't happen...”

– Stephen Colbert, October 17, 2005, The Colbert Report

Currency

  • What is the publication date or last date updated?
  • Is the content timely, useful, and valid for your information need?

Authorship

  • Who wrote the content?
  • What makes that individual author or organization qualified to write it? What other information about the author is included?
  • Who sponsored the content?

Purpose

  • Is the purpose of the content to inform, to entertain, or to promote a product or service? 
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Does the information seem credible? If so, can you check the information against another resource (i.e. book, journal article, newspaper, etc.) for credibility?

Objectivity

  • Is content biased?
  • Are opinions balanced or does the author have an agenda?
  • How does the bias influence the information?

Writing Style

 

 

 

  • Does the information contain a bibliography, references, or a comprehensive list of sources supporting its theme, topic, or agenda?
  • Is content presented at an appropriate level for an academic research paper?
  • Does the supporting information fit your research need?
  • Is the work complete, or is it a summary of other work?
  •  

Lee, Samantha and Shana Lebowitz. "20 cognitive biases that bcrew up your decisions." Business Insider, 26 Aug. 2015, 12:38, www.businessinsider.com/cognitive-biases-that-affect-decisions-2015-8.

"How to Spot Fake News." IFLA, 13 Feb. 2017, www.ifla.org/publications/node/11174.

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Pop Quiz

For each question, match the example with the description provided:

The author is an expert in the field:
John Stewart, Daily Show.: 4 votes (2.96%)
May-Britt Moser, the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for the Biology of Memory at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology: 131 votes (97.04%)
Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 135
Language and writing style are easy to use and understand.
" Climate and Pest-Driven Geographic Shifts in Global Coffee Production: Implications for Forest Cover, Biodiversity and Carbon Storage": 25 votes (22.32%)
"Here's Why Coffee Makes You Have To Poop": 76 votes (67.86%)
"The Invasion of the K-Cup; Stores of all types are selling the single-serving coffee pods, but few recognize the 'monster' environmental problem they pose": 11 votes (9.82%)
Total Votes: 112
There are numerous sources listed at the end of the article, in a bibliography or reference list.
Popular articles: 5 votes (4.39%)
Scholarly articles: 109 votes (95.61%)
Total Votes: 114
What does peer-review mean?
My classmate looked over my paper and it's ready to be submitted to my professor.: 6 votes (5.22%)
It's a process where instead of an editor reviewing the writing, the paper is scrutinized by several experts in the field to evaluate the quality and significance of the research.: 105 votes (91.3%)
An unbiased sampling process for qualitative research that involves researching a group of peers.: 4 votes (3.48%)
An academic version of a popularity contest.: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 115
The topic and length of a scholarly article tend to be:
A broad topic and a short article: 0 votes (0%)
A short article but with a narrow focus: 12 votes (10.53%)
All over the place and super long: 2 votes (1.75%)
Narrow and long.: 100 votes (87.72%)
Total Votes: 114

Does this meet the honors-level of research?

(Click on the yes or no to access the full article.)

Deatherage, S., Servaty-Seib, H. L., & Aksoz, I. (2014). Stress, coping, and internet use of college students. Journal Of American College Health, 62(1), 40-46. doi:10.1080/07448481.2013.843536
Yes: 158 votes (98.14%)
No: 3 votes (1.86%)
Total Votes: 161
WebMD (2005, December 14). Cell phones raise work-home stress: Cell phones blur boundaries between work and home. WebMD.com. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/news/20051214/cell-phones-raise-work-home-stress
Yes: 10 votes (8.77%)
No: 104 votes (91.23%)
Total Votes: 114
Hampton, Keith, et al. "Social Media and the Cost of Caring." Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 1 Oct. 2015. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/15/social-media-and-stress/
Yes: 90 votes (84.11%)
No: 17 votes (15.89%)
Total Votes: 107
Stoler, D. R., (2014, June 27). The effects of stress on sleep, memory, and anxiety. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-resilient-brain/201406/the-effects-stress-sleep-memory-and-anxiety
Yes: 23 votes (21.9%)
No: 82 votes (78.1%)
Total Votes: 105
Scelfo, Julie. "Suicide on Campus and the Pressure of Perfection." New York Times. New York Times Company, 27 July 2015. Web. 1 Oct. 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/education/edlife/stress-social-media-and-suicide-on-campus.html?_r=0
Yes: 23 votes (22.55%)
No: 79 votes (77.45%)
Total Votes: 102

Start Your Search

Search for Articles
Limit Your Results

Foundational Concepts

  • Scholarship as a conversation
  • Authority is constructed and contextualized
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically

Information Influences the Conversation

"And that brings us to tonight's word: Truthiness. Now I'm sure some of the word-police, the "wordanistas" over at Webster’s, are gonna say, "Hey, that's not a word!" Well, anybody who knows me knows that I am no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They're elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn't true, what did or didn't happen...”

– Stephen Colbert

Currency

  • What is the publication date or last date updated?
  • Is the content timely, useful, and valid for your information need?

Authorship

  • Who wrote the content?
  • What makes that individual author or organization qualified to write it? What other information about the author is included?
  • Who sponsored the content?

Purpose

  • Is the purpose of the content to inform, to entertain, or to promote a product or service? 
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Does the information seem credible? If so, can you check the information against another resource (i.e. book, journal article, newspaper, etc.) for credibility?

Objectivity

  • Is content biased?
  • Are opinions balanced or does the author have an agenda?
  • How does the bias influence the information?

Writing Style

 

 

 

  • Does the information contain a bibliography, references, or a comprehensive list of sources supporting its theme, topic, or agenda?
  • Is content presented at an appropriate level for an academic research paper?
  • Does the supporting information fit your research need?
  • Is the work complete, or is it a summary of other work?

The address identifying a specific site on the Internet. In the United States, domain names usually consist of three parts separated by the period (full stop). In the address www.thisuniversity.edu, the first part (www) indicates the protocol or language used in accessing the address, the second part (.thisuniversity) represents the name of the institution or organization hosting the site, and the last part (.edu) is a top level domain code indicating type of entity serving as network host. For the United States, the six basic top level domain codes are:

 .com   Commercial enterprise
 .edu  Educational institution
 .gov  Government agency
 .mil  Military installation
 .net  Network (generally used by companies directly responsible for the internet's infrastructure)
 .org  Nonprofit organization
 .uk  Example of a country code; from the United Kingdom
 

While domains are a good starting place, you still want to evaluate the information on the website. Other places to get hints for the purpose and objectivity of a website can be found:

  • On their About page. It will give you an idea about the author(s) and the editorial process.
  • Next to the copyright year. You may find listed a larger company that owns and influences the information shared on the website.
  • Do some follow up research on the information, the website, the author, and/or the company to double check the facts.

Take a look at the websites below, would you use them in your research?

Does this meet the honors-level of research?

(Click on the yes or no to access the full article.)

Deatherage, S., Servaty-Seib, H. L., & Aksoz, I. (2014). Stress, coping, and internet use of college students. Journal Of American College Health, 62(1), 40-46. doi:10.1080/07448481.2013.843536
Yes: 104 votes (99.05%)
No: 1 votes (0.95%)
Total Votes: 105
WebMD (2005, December 14). Cell phones raise work-home stress: Cell phones blur boundaries between work and home. WebMD.com. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/news/20051214/cell-phones-raise-work-home-stress
Yes: 10 votes (8.77%)
No: 104 votes (91.23%)
Total Votes: 114
Hampton, Keith, et al. "Social Media and the Cost of Caring." Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 1 Oct. 2015. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/15/social-media-and-stress/
Yes: 90 votes (84.11%)
No: 17 votes (15.89%)
Total Votes: 107
Stoler, D. R., (2014, June 27). The effects of stress on sleep, memory, and anxiety. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-resilient-brain/201406/the-effects-stress-sleep-memory-and-anxiety
Yes: 23 votes (21.9%)
No: 82 votes (78.1%)
Total Votes: 105
Scelfo, Julie. "Suicide on Campus and the Pressure of Perfection." New York Times. New York Times Company, 27 July 2015. Web. 1 Oct. 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/education/edlife/stress-social-media-and-suicide-on-campus.html?_r=0
Yes: 23 votes (22.55%)
No: 79 votes (77.45%)
Total Votes: 102

http://www.compoundchem.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/A-Rough-Guide-to-Spotting-Bad-Science-2015.png

A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science by Compound Interest (2015) is licensed under CC NY-NC-ND.

Created by Samantha Lee, Business Insider.

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Avoid the Easy Path: Map the Conversation by Building Comprehensive Searches in the Library Databases

Database Demo: Academic Search Complete

Use the advanced search feature to improve your search results. You have a number of options within the advanced search. Notice that you have multiple search fields. Next to each field there is a drop-down menu where you can refine your search within a certain area of the document. The following are the standard options, but you will find some databases will have more than others, based on the subject and collection.

  • Full-Text
  • Author
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Geography
  • Journal Name
  • Publisher
  • People
  • Company
  • Subject Heading/Subject Term

 

Limiters help you narrow down your search based on various criteria. They are found underneath your search fields before you get started, and then again on the left toolbar next to your results list. Some limit options include the following:

  • Full-text
  • Content/Item Type
    • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals
    • Newspaper articles
    • Magazine articles
    • Books
  • Publication Date
  • Language
  • Publication Title*
  • Geography*
  • Subject *

*Notice that you may find that there are similar search fields and limiters. Play around with your search to see how each one influences the type of results you retrieve from the database.

No two databases are made alike. Some databases contain only scholarly sources from academic journals, like JSTOR and Project MUSE. In other databases, you can limit your searches to scholarly, peer-reviewed content.

In both cases, you should still be cautious about the information found in the database

Subject Headings are database and author provided keywords. In library speak, we consider them the "authoritative" term to use. What this means is that you will likely find more or better content on your topic as opposed to some of the search terms you may have used.

You may find a section in the upper tool bar called "subject terms," "CINAHL headings," among other names. This is like the database's thesaurus or dictionary.

There are various ways to save your articles:

  1. In some of the library databases you can file away articles that look interesting and relevant to your research. If you wish to keep the file beyond that session, you can create an account within the database to save it for a later read.
  2. Email the article and bibliographic information to yourself. Create a special file section in your email to safely store them and keep it organized.
  3. Save the articles and bibliographic information in the cloud. Through your MyLoneStar email, you have access to the OneDrive, where you can upload your articles and create and update your working bibliography. Other cloud storage locations include DropBox, Google Drive, etc.
  4. Have a backup! Save the article and bibliographic information on a flashdrive. -Make sure the drive has been formatted and ALWAYS safely eject the drive before removing it from your computer to avoid losing files.

 

 

Some databases with keep track of that search session. You can go back and review past results by clicking on the Search History button underneath your search fields. You will see your search terms and on the right you can view the results. Once you click View Results they willl be found underneath the search history results list. Your search history is not permanently saved anywhere.

 

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Avoid the Easy Path: Map the Conversation by Building Comprehensive Searches in the Library Databases


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