Often, when we are told we have to write a Research Paper, our first question is: Where do I start??
Once you have a topic, a few questions, and the number and type of resources you must use, you are actually ready to begin!
If you have access to a library, most libraries use a system of numbering that helps patrons find the resources they are looking for. Every book in the library is given a unique code to help you find the book on the library shelves. This code is called a call number, and is comprised of two parts: the Dewey Decimal Classification and a Cutter number.
The Dewey Decimal Classification System has ten main classes, which are listed below:
100 Philosophy and Psychology 200 Religion
300 Social Science
500 Natural Science and Mathematics 600 Technology (Applied Sciences) 700 The Arts
900 Geography and History
From this classification, each class is further divided into 10 parts. For example, under 500
Natural Science and Mathematics you would find:
550 Earth Sciences
570 Life Sciences
Cutter numbers classify the book by the author’s last name, in alphabetical order.
For example, if you were researching American author John Steinbeck’s writings, and are interested in the novel California Writers: Jack London, John Steinbeck—the Tough Guys by Martin Stoddard, you would look under the call number 800, then 810 for American Literature, and for cutter number STO, which are the first 3 letters of the author’s last name.
To keep biographies straight, every subject (person) has been given his or her own unique call number. If you wanted to find a biography on Steinbeck, you would look in the biography section, under 92 (92 STE), which shelves all the biographies about Steinbeck.
Once you have found resources that you feel will help you in your research, read and take notes for information on your topic. Some suggestions:
- Read the whole paragraph or article before you decide what is
- Reflect on the writing. What is the most important information?
- Retell those points in your own words using the Research Notes
- Write down the source