Research in sport? Yes! There are lots of topics in physical education and sports studies that require research, and the SUNY Broome Community College library is a great place to start. From history to business to global politics, the world of athletics has enriched human life and created unique problems to be solved. This guide will introduce you to some research tools the library has that may help you craft a game-winning paper!
The "Research Skills Basics" box below offers some general tips on selecting topics (in any subject). On the left side of the page you will find links to specific kinds of research materials - books, article databases, and other webpages - as well as course-specific research guides.
The research process has six steps, described below:
Step 1 | Find a topic you're interested in.
Step 2 | Identify keywords connected to the topic.
Step 3 | Use these keywords to search for articles and books related to the topic in library databases or Google Scholar and scan them to see if they're relevant to your research.
Step 4 | Sometimes, your searches will lead you to change your research topic, which is okay; just go back to Step 2 and identify some new keywords.
Step 5 | Evaluate the sources you've gathered for accuracy and relevance to your topic and cite them properly.
Step 6 | Synthesize the sources you've evaluated into a clear, original thesis statement and write your research paper.
These three words (And, Or, Not) are used as connectors between your search terms. They are Boolean Operators.
"And" | Narrows the number and focus of results, and results contain sources with all search terms. For example:
"Or" | Broadens the number and focus of results, and results contain sources with any of your search terms. It's used with synonyms and related terms. For example:
"Not" | Narrows the number and focus of results and eliminates sources containing the term after "not". For example:
Can you think of times where these tools might be useful? How about times when they might have unintended consequences?
The C.R.A.P. method
for evaluating your sources - not to be confused with
To begin with, your librarian has an issue with categorizing sources as "good" or "bad." Depending on your assignment, the argument you are making, your intended audience, and any number of other factors, the best sources may be different! And so I like to recommend the C.R.A.P. method for evaluation.
C - Currency. Is the resource from an appropriate time? For some assignments, your professor may define a specific window of time - "published within the past 10 years," for example. However, if you are writing about an event that happened in the past, a source from the time may be more appropriate than something published more recently.
R - Reliability. Do you trust that this information is accurate? Why? Does the author use evidence supported by citations and references, and can you verify the information - either through checking those sources or finding similar information elsewhere?
A - Authority. Who is this author? If this from a journal, what kind of publication is it (a newspaper, a magazine you can find at a bookstore, a reviewed research journal)? If it is on a website, who is responsible for the website content (a company, a government agency, a university)?
P - Purpose, or Point of View. Why was this piece written? Is it informative? Persuasive? Entertaining? (and yes, it CAN be more than one of those!) Can you clearly define the author's bias? Does that bias change the way the information is presented?
I know this is a LOT to think about. And a lot of this analysis you may already do, without even realizing it!