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Research 101 : Welcome

An introduction to Penfield Library, basic college research tools and techniques.

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Welcome to College-Level Research


College research is challenging.  Research at this level requires good time management, planning, sharpened critical thinking, and the right tools.  

This guide includes some of the basic tools to help with your research. 

  • Use the "What is...?" tab to find definitions of key research-related terms. 
  • Use the "How to...?" tab for video tutorials and explanations with detailed steps and explanations.


High School vs College Research

Students new to college level research should be prepared to experience these differences in the research process and the assignments and projects they will encounter.

                 High School                                                                  College                                                         
  • Google is the primary research tool
  • Subscription databases primary research tools
  • Encyclopedias, books, websites are the primary sources of information
  • Scholarly sources like articles are the primary sources of information
  • MLA citation style frequently used
  • Differing citation styles used across subject areas
  • Assignments include detailed directions & expectations
  • Assignment directions and expectations may not be as detailed
  • Assignments are shorter in length and can be completed in a shorter time
  • Assignments are lengthier and require more time to complete
  • Work supervised by teachers who repeatedly check progress and remind about due dates
  • Less supervision by professors and strict due dates
  • Less severe penalties for cheating and plagiarism
  • College wide policies with severe penalties for dishonesty including reduced grades, failing grades, suspension, and/or expulsion
  • Library collection organized using Dewey Decimal classification
  • Library collection organized using Library of Congress classification
  • Less focus on understanding the differences between primary and secondary source materials
  • Essential students understand the differences between and appropriate use of primary source and secondary source materials
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