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Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research

(48 reviews)

Cheryl Lowry, Ohio State University

Copyright Year: 2016

Publisher: Ohio State University Libraries

Language: English

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Reviewed by Elbert Davis, Assistant Professor, Marshall University on 10/24/21

The author does an incredible job in explaining the research process, from choosing a research question to how to search for sources (and citing those sources), and more. There are relevant self-check quizzes throughout the book to check for... read more

Reviewed by Kelly LeFave, Instructor, Portland Community College on 6/15/21

This student friendly overview of academic research, including a strong focus on information literacy, covers many of the salient points that college level writing and writing for research classes curricula contain, making it a strong choice as a... read more

Reviewed by Nell McCabe, Associate Professor, Berkshire Community College on 6/15/21

This text is very-student friendly and covers all aspects of writing a student research paper, including steps that students frequently overlook such as the value of preliminary research and the different ways to incorporate different kinds of... read more

Reviewed by Darci Adolf, Director of Library & Media Services, Oregon Coast Community College on 6/11/21

I found "Choosing and Using Sources" to be quite comprehensive and included the major areas that I cover in my LIB 101 Research skills class. In my class I like to cover each area of Eisenberg's Big6 Research model: Task definition, information... read more

Reviewed by Kaia Henrickson, Assistant Professor of Library & Information Science, Information Literacy Librarian, University of Alaska, Southeast on 11/4/20, updated 12/16/20

This text does a good job highlighting the steps in the research process, from formulating a strong research question, to finding and evaluating sources, to incorporating ideas from research into writing, and finally, to citing and using sources... read more

Reviewed by Marybeth Beller, Associate Professor, Marshall University on 3/13/20

The book provides a thorough review of the research process; that said, a professor will have to add discipline-specific information and requirements, such as expected citation practices and research methods. read more

Reviewed by Racheal Rothrock, Assistant Professor, Miami University on 2/28/20

The text is comprehensive in its covering of topics related to choosing and using sources, though it does not go into great depth for each topic. Rather this text provides a broad overview around the topic of sources. This text seems to be written... read more

Reviewed by Audrey Besch, Temporary Faculty , East Tennessee State University on 10/31/19

This text is very comprehensive! From choosing sources to the final research project, this book does a wonderful job of providing all the steps. read more

Reviewed by Kris Frykman, Community Faculty, Minnesota State University System on 10/18/19

Comprehensive overview, with examples, to punctuate learning. read more

Reviewed by TyRee Jenks, Research Librarian & Library Instruction Coordinator, Montana State University - Billings on 7/31/19

The text is very comprehensive and covers all the necessary aspects of information literacy and student research. There is no index or glossary included, but terms are well explained within the text. The extensive coverage of topics, like types... read more

Reviewed by Eric Bradley, Research and Instruction Librarian, Goshen College on 5/31/19

The focus of the book is on published sources for college level research and writing. In this area it is comprehensive. It does not address other areas of academic research. read more

Reviewed by Kathleen Murphy, Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Music Thearpy, Loyola University-New Orleans on 4/30/19

This book includes all relevant information to help students choose appropriate sources for an academic research paper. It clearly defines different types of sources that can be used, and the difference between primary and secondary sources. It... read more

Reviewed by Miguel Valderrama, Adjunct Assistant Professor, New York City College of Technology on 4/7/19

This book is a great resource of all steps needed to be taken in an academic research process. The book's index clearly displays a suggested methodology to follow and makes it easier to comeback for the review of previous chapters. In general the... read more

Reviewed by Cindy Gruwell, Professor/Research Librarian, Minnesota State on 1/11/19

Choosing and Using Sources does a very good job of covering the topic of Academic Research. Each chapter focuses on an aspect of the research process and thoroughly covers the content with easy to read text and examples/activities for student... read more

Reviewed by Kathy Moss, Clinical Professor, University of Missouri on 11/27/18

The hyperlinks and examples include a wide range of topics that include cooking, surgery, architecture and sports. read more

Reviewed by Lori Meier, Associate Professor, East Tennessee State University on 11/8/18

This text is exceedingly comprehensive. It addresses all elements of academic research (i.e. choosing questions, exploring and selecting sources, searching strategies, citation issues, copyright) as well as providing abundant links for student... read more

Reviewed by Kathy Lamb, ELL Specialist/ English Instructor, Miami University on 8/2/18

The text covers most areas of academic research, and has a table of contents but no glossary, which is much needed. Topics are clear and concise, transitioning smoothly from general to more specific, such as “What is a Research Question?” to... read more

Reviewed by Sara Abrahamson, Faculty, Minneosta West Community and Technical College on 8/2/18

This text is very comprehensive. The complete research process is broken down from start to finish. read more

Reviewed by Justin Megahan, Librarian / Associate Professor, Fontbonne University on 6/19/18

The text does a good job covering academic research. There is a table of contents, but I feel like a glossary and index would be helpful for this book. read more

Reviewed by Jane Theissen, Reference Librarian/Professor, Fontbonne University on 5/21/18

The research process is explained in detail, from how to develop a research question to where and how to research through the application of copyright, fair use and citation styles. read more

Reviewed by Laura Heinz, Librarian, Texas Tech University on 3/27/18

This book provides beginning student researchers with a clear and complete path to the research process for class assignments and undergraduate research projects. read more

Reviewed by Hilary Johnson, Learning & Teaching Librarian, The Open University on 3/27/18

The text does not include an index or glossary. However, it covers a complex (and dry) subject in an economical and stimulating fashion. Each reader would learn about the subject from the basic text but the authors have enriched the text by... read more

Reviewed by Lydia Bales, Academic Skills Tutor & Librarian, Staffordshire University on 2/1/18

Considering the book is not overly large, the guide manages to be very through and comprehensive guide to locating sources and using them correctly. It even goes further in giving some great information on making an argument and writing out the... read more

Reviewed by Lori Jacobson, Associate Director, Curriculum Development, William & Mary Writing Resources Center on 2/1/18

The book provides a comprehensive introduction to the use of sources in academic writing. read more

Reviewed by Kristin Green, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Penn State Worthington Scranton on 2/1/18

The aspects of academic research that are prudent to cover within the first year of any undergraduate student's general education are all covered within this textbook. From an introduction to the ethics of source use to crafting basic Boolean... read more

Reviewed by Anne Behler, Information Literacy Librarian & Instruction Coordinator, The Pennsylvania State University on 2/1/18

This text offers a comprehensive breakdown of the academic research process, with special effort made to demystify jargon that may present itself in either the classroom or library environment. Beginning with establishing a research question and... read more

Reviewed by Craig Larson, Librarian, North Hennepin Community College on 2/1/18

The book is very comprehensive, sometimes almost too much so (sections on copyright seem to be more detailed than the average college student would need or perhaps be interested in; the section on the lifecycle of information, while interesting,... read more

Reviewed by Mairéad Hogan, Lecturer, National University of Ireland, Galway on 2/1/18

This book covers the subject matter in a comprehensive and detailed way. The way in which the material is presented is very suitable for students who have not previously been involved in academic research as it starts at the very beginning and... read more

Reviewed by Anthony Patterson, Assistant Professor, North Carolina Central University on 2/1/18

Choosing and Using Sources is an extremely thorough text taking readers through the research process from formulating research questions to fair use and copy right issues. I particularly liked the online examples and resources including quizzes... read more

Reviewed by Rachelle Savitz, Assistant Professor, Clemson University on 2/1/18

The text is quite comprehensive regarding finding, using, and understanding sources. It provides the process of sourcing from start to finish with examples and activities provided throughout to support the reader. Various ways to find sources... read more

Reviewed by Scott Rice, Associate Professor, Appalachian State University on 2/1/18

The book is very comprehensive which sometimes detracted from its usefulness. There were a few units that may be superfluous, but I did appreciate that the author seemed to err on the side of inclusivity, leaving it to other adoptees how much... read more

Reviewed by Bryan Gattozzi, Lecturer, General Studies Writing, Bowling Green State University on 2/1/18

I was impressed how the text began helping students understand the benefits of leading a research project by writing research question(s), following with assessment of research methods, and thinking about research writing as an avenue to test a... read more

Reviewed by Jonathan Grunert, Assistant Professor of Library Services: Information Literacy Coordinator, Colorado State University - Pueblo on 2/1/18

This textbook covers the concepts found in the ACRL frameworks in a way that is meaningful and accessible to academic researchers at all levels. It adequately provides a discussion of the complete research process, with clear signposts as to which... read more

Reviewed by Susan Nunamaker, Lecturer, Clemson University on 2/1/18

This textbook is comprehensive. It goes in-depth covering the topics of research questions (specifically how to narrow down topics), types of sources, sources and information needs, precision searching, search tools, evaluating sources, ethical... read more

Reviewed by Diane Kauppi, Library Faculty, Technical Services & Systems, Ruth A Myers Library at Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College on 2/1/18

The text did a great job of covering the subject and the table of contents were laid out well. The content was well thought out. read more

Reviewed by Kristine Roshau, Instructional Technology Specialist and PT Faculty Librarian, Central Oregon Community College on 8/15/17

This text is extensive! Like the title suggests, it truly is a full guide to academic research, from developing a topic, finding sources, and using them appropriately. It also follows the logical order of the search process, from identifying an... read more

Reviewed by Deborah Finkelstein, Adjunct Professor, George Mason University on 6/20/17

The book is very comprehensive. The authors consistently explain concepts well and provide easy-to-understand examples that are approachable for the undergraduate audience. For example, the authors don’t just say, “narrow down your source,” they... read more

Reviewed by Constance Chemay, Head of Public Services, Library Services; Asst. Professor, User Instruction, River Parishes Community College, Gonzales, LA on 6/20/17

The book does an excellent job covering the subject, and even goes beyond what its title suggests, with chapters on writing and formulating an argument. The chapters on copyright and fair use are exceptional. However, it lacks both a glossary and... read more

Reviewed by Dawn Kennedy, Ed.S, Health Education, Anoka-Ramsey Community College on 4/11/17

Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research serves as an excellent guide for teaching the research process. It takes the learner through the process of academic research and writing in an easy to understand manner. As an educator... read more

Reviewed by Scott Miller, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

The book is very comprehensive and even goes beyond what might be expected in this kind of textbook. Along with choosing and using sources, the authors include a section on making an argument. Topics are dealt with appropriately and the text... read more

Reviewed by Vanessa Ruccolo, Advanced Instructor of English, Virginia Tech on 2/8/17

Ch. 1 has a great overview of regular versus research questions and the difference between qualitative and quantitative research. Ch. 2 covers primary, secondary, and tertiary sources as well as popular, professional, and scholarly. Ch. 3... read more

Reviewed by Dale Jenkins, Advanced Instructor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech) on 2/8/17

Having taught freshmen how to write college research papers for the past 18 years, I gave the text high marks on addressing all of the key elements college students need to engage in academic research. read more

Reviewed by Jarrod Dunham, Instructor - English Composition, Portland Community College on 2/8/17

A very comprehensive guide to the writing of the research paper. I've taught research writing for several years, and this book covers all the material I'd typically cover in a class. Previously I've not used a textbook in that class, but I'm... read more

Reviewed by Jennifer Lantrip, Reference Librarian, Umpqua Community College on 2/8/17

This book is an excellent source for guiding undergraduate students through the research process, from understanding the purposes for doing research and writing a research question, to composing a thesis and contributing to a scholarly... read more

Reviewed by Patricia Akhimie, Asst. Prof of English, Rutgers University-Newark on 2/8/17

This textbook does not include an index or glossary but is full-text searchable, returning a an easy to read and access menu of clickable search results to take readers directly to the desired information. In addition, an expandable Table of... read more

Reviewed by Heather Jerónimo, Assistant Professor, University of Northern Iowa on 2/8/17

This text is a comprehensive review of the various types of sources one might need to complete a research project or paper. The book begins with a clear explanation of how to formulate a research question, while the majority of the chapters focus... read more

Reviewed by Dr. William Vann, Information Studies Faculty, Minneapolis Community and Technical College on 12/5/16

While there is neither a back-of-the-book index nor a compiled glossary in this outstanding textbook (key terms are defined, however, throughout the chapters), one cannot deny its comprehensiveness. In fact, this text covers so much ground it is... read more

Reviewed by Kelly McKenna, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University on 12/5/16

The book provides a thorough introduction and how to regarding sources in academic writing. With the exception of the first chapter on writing research questions, the rest of the book is focused on sources, which is relevant for any type of... read more

Table of Contents

  • 1. Research Questions
  • 2. Types of Sources
  • 3. Sources and Information Needs
  • 4. Precision Searching
  • 5. Search Tools
  • 6. Evaluating Sources
  • 7. Ethical Use of Sources
  • 8. How to Cite Sources
  • 9. Making an Argument
  • 10. Writing Tips
  • 11. Copyright Basics
  • 12. Fair Use
  • 13. Roles of Research Sources

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  • About the Book

    Choosing & Using Sources presents a process for academic research and writing, from formulating your research question to selecting good information and using it effectively in your research assignments. Additional chapters cover understanding types of sources, searching for information, and avoiding plagiarism. Each chapter includes self-quizzes and activities to reinforce core concepts and help you apply them. There are also appendices for quick reference on search tools, copyright basics, and fair use.

    What experts are saying about Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research:

    “…a really fantastic contribution that offers a much needed broadened perspective on the process of research, and is packed to the brim with all kinds of resources and advice on how to effectively use them. The chapter on plagiarism is really excellent, and the chapter on searching for sources is utterly brilliant.”

    – Chris Manion, PhDCoordinator of Writing Across the Curriculum at Ohio State University

    “… an excellent resource for students, with engaging content, graphics, and examples—very compelling. The coverage of copyright is outstanding.”

    – J. Craig GibsonCo-chair of ACRL's Task Force on Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

    About the Contributors


    Cheryl Lowry, training and education specialist, Ohio State University Libraries.

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