Skunk Ape: Module 2
Module 2: Search Strategy
Welcome to module 2 of the Search for the Skunk Ape tutorial. In these modules, you will be guided through the research process using the subject of the Skunk Ape, South Florida's version of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch phenomenon, reputed to be living in the Everglades. Put on your safari hat and let's get started.
After completing, Module 2: Search Strategy, you should be able to:
You must be aware that it's a jungle out there - or rather, a swamp...an information swamp. One must be careful not to misstep or take the wrong trail, or you may get lost. For example, many researchers typically rely on the free Internet for their information needs. If you've ever used an Internet search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, you know it's not uncommon to turn up thousands of documents based on just a couple of keywords.
Take a look at what happens when you use the keywords Skunk Ape in Google in the next exercise.
This is both the beauty and the bane of the Internet. You can get bogged down and sink fast in that much information.However, there are other paths that you can travel to find information about your subject and even guide you to additional resources so that you can avoid sinking hip-deep in the information swamp.
How should you start filling the gap between what you know and don't know about the Skunk Ape? You might want to start by using a source of background information, like an encyclopedia or online reference source, to identify key terms and ideas to use in your search for more detailed information. Watch the following video to see how background research can get you started.
The always helpful FGCU reference librarian has provided you with a head start on your research by retrieving an article on your subject from the Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, available online through the Gale Virtual Reference Library database. Note that she first tried the keyword "skunk ape," and no results came up. So then she used the more widely-known name, Bigfoot, and she found this article.
Scholarly information is created by experts and academics in their subject areas. The results of their research are published in books and journals intended for other scholars, experts, and students of the discipline. In this manner, knowledge of a subject grows and further research is encouraged. To be successful in your research assignments, you must be able to identify, select, and use appropriate scholarly information sources.
Your professor may direct you to use only articles from peer-reviewed journals in your research. Watch the following video to find out what this means.
If you have already taken steps to get familiar with your topic through some background research and know what types of information you might need for your research project, you are ready to get to down to business and start some serious searching.
Knowing what kind of search tool to use will save you time and frustration. There are 3 primary research tools that should be used to find the information you need: the library catalog, research databases, and internet search engines. What are these tools and how do they help you with your research? Look at the following table for an explanation.
Through this module, you have learned the benefits of gathering background information and how to identify keywords from an information source. You've identified scholarly literature and popular literature, and learned what a peer-reviewed journal is. You've also discovered that all information can't be found using an internet search engine or any one search tool. The next module in this tutorial will show you how to use search tools like the library catalog and research databases to get the books and articles you need.
Answer these questions before moving on to Module 3: Locating Sources: