Skip to Main Content

FYSP 196: Why Oberlin? The Value(s) of a Liberal Arts Education: Search Strategy

Search Strategy

Here is a good, basic formula for getting started with your research:

  • Begin by narrowing down your topic and developing an initial research question.
  • Use the keyword brainstorming worksheet to help you tweak your research question, identify keywords and related terms, and keep track of what you find.  
  • Search in a library catalog (Summon, OBISOhioLINK and/or WorldCat) to find books and reference sources.  These sources will:
    • provide BACKGROUND and CONTEXT
    • REVIEW and SUMMARIZE earlier work
    • help you FOCUS your topic and
    • provide CITATIONS to important books, journal articles, conference papers, interviews, etc.
  • Next, search research databases to find articles. The library has hundreds of databases; those listed on this guide are good places to begin.
  • You may also wish to use Google Scholar to search the Internet.  This is a great tool for doing cited reference searches.

What is an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, web sources, media, etc.  Each citation is followed by a brief (approximately 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.  Annotations should not be confused with abstracts, which are summaries of content.  Annotations are both descriptive and critical.

Annotations should:

  • evaluate the authority or background of the author
  • indicate the intended audience of the work
  • compare or contrast a work with others in your bibliography
  • explain how this work contributes to your research topic

Annotated bibliography resources