Ethical Research

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It's hard to create a citation, or find reliable information in the first place. Bellow are excellent resources to help you out:


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Library Resource List

Creating a Research question

A research question is the building block for any research endeavor. You have to know what you want to know before you can figure it out. In order to succeed in the rest of the research, your research question must be specific. What do you want to know? If you can't narrow it down, it's probably not a good topic. It can't be too broad.

A strategy is to use advanced search. Search terms should include what you want the site's key words to be, what you not want them to be, and if there is a specific type of site that would hold the key information. This is very helpful. It will narrow your research question down considerably, which helps a lot. Too many results is overwhelming and sometimes unreliable.

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Finding Reliable and Credible Sites

First things first: you should always cross-reference. If you find a fact somewhere, make sure you can verify it from other sites before quoting or paraphrasing it into your paper.

Next, you'll want to check the URL's domain extension. If it ends in something like .co or .com, it may not be as reliable as something found in .gov, .net, or .edu. If the domain extension is something less credible, you probably wan to cross-reference it again, just to make sure.

Another thing you need to look at is the actual name of the site. It should say something related to what you're looking for. It should relate to your research question.

You'll also want to check that the name of the site isn't Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, or something that can be edited by the general public. These are unreliable when writing research papers.

Look at the content, too. If it's clearly bias, then it might give you too much opinion and bias fact. These are especially hazardous when writing an informational piece.

One of the most important things to look at when deciding a site's credibility, you have to look at who wrote it. If you can't find the author, or if the author has no authority or background in what they're writing about, then the site has little credibility and isn't very reliable.

Finally, check the site itself. If it's mostly design with little actual information, the author probably doesn't know a lot about the topic and is therefore not very credible. They care more about the picture than the content. Also, if there are a lot of online advertisements, it may not be very reliable.

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What is Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing and What Are The Differences?

Quoting is copying and pasting directly from a source in between quotations.

Paraphrasing is expressing the meaning of the site using different words. However, you still have to cite the source.

Summarizing is stating only the main idea of your source. And again, you must cite it.

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Plagiarism is the act of passing off ideas, information, products, or creative expressions of others as your own. It's a criminal offense.

How to avoid it:

The best and only real way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your source. Citations come in different ways. The one used most commonly is MLA citations.

Below is an example of an MLA citation as well as the general format.

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