Instructions for Module 3: April 3 through the End of Spring Break

For the next week and a half (today through April 12/13), we’ll just be focusing on learning research skills and then doing research for our final projects.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will become adept at navigating the John Jay library website and the many kinds of online resources available
  2. Students will learn research skills relevant to the beginning of a project and apply that knowledge to explore their own inquiry questions
  3. Students will create a base of background knowledge on their topics and a preliminary list of sources to reference as they compose their projects

Overview of Tasks

  1. Orient yourself with a Writing Into the Week prompt (share only if you wish)
  2. Watch some short video tutorials provided by the John Jay library
  3. Begin doing research toward answering your chosen inquiry question, using the John Jay library website
  4. Keep a running list of sources you think you might want to use for your paper– just pasting links into a file or bookmarking them is fine.
  5. Toward the end of the module (so maybe April 12 or 13), make a comment on this post giving an update on how things are going with your project (and/or with your life!)

Step 1: Writing Into the Week

  1. Regardless of how you feel about writing a research paper, what are some things that you are excited to learn as you work on this project? You all had a lot of freedom in choosing your topics– what are you most looking forward to?
  2. Take some time to freewrite for another 5-10 minutes. Set a timer. Just a few minutes to yourself, to write whatever comes to mind. Or draw! Just keep your pencil on the page or your hands on the keyboard, and keep them moving.

Step 2: Research Training from John Jay Library

Our library offers A LOT of video tutorials.  I’m going to list links below for a few that I want you to make sure you watch, but I encourage you to also watch/read others–if not now, then over the course of the next several weeks as questions arise. I will add a longer list of tutorials I particularly recommend on our Resources page.

**Some of the pages might ask you to sign in. Just use your John Jay computer/email login.**

Video 1: From Questions to Keywords
You all have inquiry questions written– how do you choose good keywords that will take you directly to the things you want to find?

Video 2: Getting Started with Google/Wikipedia
Also click to “Part 2” of this tutorial to view the video “Moving From Google/Wikipedia to Databases”

Video 3: Exploration Strategies

Read through:

Step 3: Research!

There’s a couple places I recommend you start, aside from doing general background research.

  1. View the library’s Research Guide for your topic’s subject area and choose a database the guide recommends
  2. Try searching in Academic Search Complete
  3. In the righthand sidebar of our course site, there are two search bars– one lets you search our course site, but the other takes you directly to the library’s main database, One Search! You can start right now by typing some keywords in there!

Step 4: Running List

You should actually do this one at the same time as Step 3. Whether you use a Word doc, a Google doc, or have another way you prefer to keep track, make sure you keep a list of the sources you find that you think will be useful!

Don’t worry about shaping them into an annotated bibliography right now– we have another couple weeks before we’re at that stage. Just paste the links in there, and maybe leave a note to remind yourself of the title/author/what it’s about and why you chose it.

Step 5: Give a Progress Update!

Toward the end of the module (so maybe April 12 or 13), make a comment on this post giving an update on how things are going with your project (and/or with your life!)

How are things going? What have you found/learned so far? Are you needing to adjust your inquiry question(s)? What are your next steps?

If you want to share, how are things going in your life beyond this class?

***I would like everyone to schedule a virtual conference with me sometime before the end of the semester so we can chat about your paper one on one in real time. It’s up to you when you do it– if you are having trouble getting started with research, now could be a good time! But you can also wait until later in the writing process, or make multiple appointments**



4 thoughts on “Instructions for Module 3: April 3 through the End of Spring Break

  1. Tiffany Flores

    I feel like my research process is going pretty well it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was gonna be to find things related to my inquiry question. That being said i’m not going to change my inquiry question, I feel as if it is solid enough for this research paper. My next step would be me actually starting the paper which I haven’t gotten around to yet because I wanna gather a few more sources.

    Beyond this class I am slowly losing my mind. I miss a lot of things I took for granted while we weren’t in quarintine. The only thing that is helping me keep my sanity is my dog to be honest.

    1. Olivia Wood Post author

      I’m glad research is going well, and I’m glad you have your dog for company/comfort! I don’t have any pets, but my sister has two dogs and is definitely feeling especially grateful for them right now. Thanks for the update!

  2. Juan Marte Melendez

    I watched the video tutorials regarding research, and I learned three principal steps:
    1- Find keywords (main concepts)
    2- Expand keywords (synonyms and related words)
    3- Mix and math key words

    I understood that Wikipedia/Google provides background information and keywords to research in a library database. In conclusion, searching is like putting a puzzle together, and a successful search takes time and patience.

    To be honest, I have not finished my research on my topic. However, I need to adjust my inquiry questions because they are very far-reaching. This week, I will finish my research and learn how to complete a reliable bibliography.

    Regarding my personal life, this has been a challenging time facing mental health issues. I’m very anxious and worried about everything. Every time I watch the news, I’m getting more concerned about this pandemic. My family is in my home country, the Dominican Republic, and they are very worried. I try to let them know that I’m doing well. Hopefully, this situation will be better soon.

    1. Olivia Wood Post author

      It’s totally okay to still be researching– in fact, you should be! Good research always happens over time, and sometimes you have to pause and think and go back and change direction. Or just take a break to attend to other things in your life. 🙂

      I definitely empathize about watching the news– I don’t have a TV at home, but reading Twitter every morning and seeing all the updates is always stressful. I only send some links/info to my family, since they’re very concerned about me being in NYC as well. Your wellbeing is the most important thing— please always ignore class stuff if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to rest. As long as you get everything in by the end of the semester, the “deadlines” are really more like “guidelines.”


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