Research means finding the best kind of information for the problem that you want to solve. At the senior level (or in any field where time and money matter) you need to find specific information and that usually means going beyond .com websites.
Popular general websites like Wikipedia give you basic information; it is not always bad information, but it has limitations. The better sources for your capstone paper topic will be found in databases which include journals and articles specific to your issue and books (ditto). You can also get good information from experts in the field so don't overlook interviewing but remember that material from interviews usually has to be put into context or supports and that means....RESEARCH.
To find good sources, you need to learn how to be specific. That can mean using a keyword or phrase like a person's name or a title or specific term. That may lead you to an article or a book that you will need to read and decide how helpful it can be. The library databases include articles, sites, books that are full text and free to you (because the library pays for them). You may already be familiar with journals or other publications that are germane to your field. Don't overlook government sites (.gov) or educations sites (.edu) for good information.
Be realistic...the more complex your questions and issues, the more you need to read and think and evaluate. Facts are fairly easy to find--they are often in encyclopedias like Britannica but you can't make a strong argument on facts alone. You are going to be asked to explain and interpret and for that you will be using other people's ideas. You may find your position changing as you research; that is the nature of learning.
Finally, don't forget that you can always ask your instructor or the librarian about sources.
For this paper, you won't be able to do a good job without searching through at least 2-3 appropriate databases. Here is good places to begin: Library Databases.
Then create an annotated bibliography of at least 4-5 resources, some of which by necessity will be found through the Otis databases, including the OPAC, and include journal articles and/or books. You must annotate and evaluate the sources including the identifying the credentials of the author and the type of information (scholarly, popular, etc.) and intended autience. (See CRAAP Detection and Types of Information)
See more: Annotating Sources (The Otis Way)
Jagodzinski, Jan. Youth Fantasies: The Perverse Landscape of the Media. Gordonsville, VA: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. ebrary. Web. 29 July 2013.
[Author Credentials] Jan Jagodzinski is a professor in the department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta with a Ph.D in education and a scholarly focus on teenagers and popular culture influences. He has written lots of articles on these subjects that have been published in peer-edited journals; this is his second book on the subject. [Audience/Type of Information] The information is a decade old so some of his examples are a little outdated. The book has a bibliography of 85 sources, is heavily footnoted and many of the footnotes are annotated. There are many images including photographs and screen shots from television shows and several graphs and charts. This is a scholarly source that targets an academic audience, especially undergraduate and graduate students. Palgrave Macmillan publishes globally but concentrates on the humanities and social sciences. [How Work Illuminates your Topic] In this book, the author attempts to examine youth culture. Rather than simply attempting to determine the effects of activities teens become involved with, he examines why they become interested in them in the first place, and attempts to rethink the lines of what the realities of teenagers are and what our fantasies of them are.
Bosacki, Sandra, et al. "Preadolescents' Self-Concept and Popular Magazine Preferences." Journal of Research in Childhood Education 23.3 (2009): 340-50. ProQuest. Web. 29 July 2013.
[Author Credentials] Dr. Sandra Bosacki is the Associate Professor (PhD) in the Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education at Brock University in Canada. [Audience/Type of Information] The journal is the official publication of the Official Journal of the Association for Childhood Education International. It’s scholarly. [How Work Illuminates your Topic] This article draws on a larger study of Canadian children's sense of self and media habits. The analysis shows a great diversity in preadolescents' magazine reading habits and self-descriptions. Results showed that across all ages, girls preferred mainly fashion and entertainment magazines, whereas boys preferred mainly magazines concerning sports and video games. This is good information for my paper because it analyzes the interests of children by gender.
Wolfgang, Ben. "Police to Use Social Media as Way to Head Off Flash Mobs." The Washington Times, August 18, 2011, A1.
[Author Credentials] Ben Wolfgang is a national reporter for The Washington Times. Before coming to the Times, he spent four years as a political reporter in Pennsylvania. His focus is on education and science policy. [Audience/Type of Information] This article is in a newspaper and can be considered directed at a popular audience. The article is fairly short and primarily just reporting without a lot of analysis. [How Work Illuminates your Topic] I am interested in how social media is used by youth, but this is a case where police seem to using the media against the organizers. The article is clearly biased toward considering flash mobs a crime that is organized quickly by youth on social media. The youth are referred to as “troublemakers.”
Students are often confused about what to cite, when to cite, how to cite. In a world with so much information available, it is important to acknowledge the original ideas and the exact words of your sources. Citing is like leaving a trail for the reader to know exactly where you got any information that was not your original idea. This includes images as well unless they are your original work. It means that it you paraphrase original ideas or texts, you still need to cite the source. Paraphrasing is a good idea most of the time because it means that what you are writing keeps the same syle and voice and you get the information across...much better than long quotations. Proper citations in MLA style and a Works Cited page must accompany all papers.
By the senior level you should know when and how to cite but...it you are still not sure, there are very good educational sites listed at Citing Sources.
Check yourself by putting your paper through Grammarly (Otis has an account. Use your Otis email). Plagiarism occurs when a person deliberately uses another person’s concepts, language, images, music, or other original (not common knowledge) material without acknowledging the source and/or making substantial modifications. While referencing or appropriating may be part of a studio or Liberal Arts and Sciences assignment, it is the student’s ethical responsibility to acknowledge and/or modify the original material.
See also: Otis Plagiarism Policy
Specific examples of plagiarism include:
- Submitting someone else’s work in whole or part (including copying directly from a source
- Having someone else produce, revise, or substantially alter all or part of a written paper or studio assignment.
- Cutting and pasting any textual or image-based work from the internet without proper documentation or clarification of sources.
- Failure to cite sources.