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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.

Primary v. Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

Examples include an original object or document of first-hand information such as a photograph, a diary, a letter, sound recording, speech, or interview. 

It also includes magazine and newspaper articles written during the time period. Journal articles which show original research (a study) are primary.


Secondary Sources

Examples include history textbooks, encyclopedias, books such as biographies, and newspaper and magazine articles written after the time period.  Journal articles which synthesize information and analyze an existing topic are secondary.

Primary research is when you go out and collect data or information from the observations, surveys, interviews, and/or experiments. What this means is that you are out in the world (or a controlled laboratory environment, depending on your research) creating original information.

Types of projects that benefit from primary research include:

  • Local issues or trends
  • Research on a specific group or person
  • New direction of research that may have little written about the topic

For more information, visit the Purdue OWL link below.

Popular v. Scholarly

Cover: The casing of the book. It will include the title and author on the front and spine. Typically covers are made with a harder material that the inner pages: cardboard, cardstock paper, leather, or fabric. 

Title Page: The book's title and all the authors' names will be listed. You will also find the publisher and place of publication listed at the bottom.

Verso: Meaning "on the turn side of the page"; found on the other side of the title page. You will find the copyright and publication dates. Hint: This is also a great place to find subject headings given to the book by the Library of Congress; great keywords!

Table of Contents: A list of Chapter headings and subheadings with the page number.

List of Diagrams, Charts, Photos, or Illustrations: Found in technical books, an additional contents list offers pages for figures found throughout the books.

Foreword: Generally it is written by someone other than the author as an introduction to the subject in the book.

Acknowledgments: This is where the author gives thanks to all those who have helped him or her write the book.

Preface: Written by the author, the preface introduces you to the author's thesis or argument for the book. It will give you an idea about the author's bias and the level of research conducted.

Chapters: Books are generally broken up into sections, or chapters, to organize the thoughts, into manageable subtopics, stories, or arguments.

Afterword: Extra information on the book's topic included at the back of the book.

Notes and Appendices: Additional information, charts, resources to support the information in the main areas of the book

Bibliography: Lists of resources the author used in his or her research for the book.

Glossary: A list of terms found at the back of the book. It is organized in alphabetical order with definitions for each term; like a dictionary.

Index: Found at the back of the book, the index is a detailed list of topics, people, places, and other significant terms found throughout the book. It is organized in alphabetical order and includes the page(s) where you will find that information. This is a great place to search for your keywords to evaluate how helpful the book may be for your research.

Author's Biography: Information about the author's professional life.

For each question, identify whether the description best suits a popular or a scholarly article.

The author is an expert in the field:
John Stewart, Daily Show.: 6 votes (3.21%)
May-Britt Moser, the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for the Biology of Memory at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology: 179 votes (95.72%)
Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian: 2 votes (1.07%)
Total Votes: 187
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": 30 votes (18.18%)
"Here's Why Coffee Makes You Have To Poop": 121 votes (73.33%)
"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": 14 votes (8.48%)
Total Votes: 165
There are numerous sources listed at the end of the article, in a bibliography or reference list.
Popular articles: 5 votes (3.07%)
Scholarly articles: 158 votes (96.93%)
Total Votes: 163
What does peer-review mean?
My classmate looked over my paper and it's ready to be submitted to my professor.: 6 votes (3.55%)
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.: 153 votes (90.53%)
An unbiased sampling process for qualitative research that involves researching a group of peers.: 8 votes (4.73%)
An academic version of a popularity contest.: 2 votes (1.18%)
Total Votes: 169
The topic and length of a scholarly article tend to be:
A broad topic and a short article: 6 votes (3.41%)
A short article but with a narrow focus: 20 votes (11.36%)
All over the place and super long: 4 votes (2.27%)
Narrow and long.: 146 votes (82.95%)
Total Votes: 176

Locating Information

Keyword Searching is how you search most web search engines, like Google. You input the most significant words relating to your topic, and the search results pull all items that include your keywords. 

Subject Headings are the official words or phrases used to represent a concept in a particular database or catalog. Use these terms when searching a database to find relevant items on the same topic.

Each database uses its own set of subject headings, and it can be difficult to guess the terms used by a certain one. Look for a "Thesaurus" or "Subject Terms" list at the top of the database page to locate subject terms. 


Search the LSCS Library Catalog:

Keywords Anywhere   Subject   Title   Author

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