Wednesday, August 29, 2012

College Students Research Companion

Arlene R. Quaratiello with Jane Devine, The College Student's Research Companion: Finding, Evaluating, and Citing Resources You Need to Succeed. 5th ed. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2011. 183 pages. ISBN: 9781555707293

Most students do not know where to begin when required to do a research paper. Many students will just do searches in Google or some other search engine. We have many students who come to the library not sure where to begin their research. Several years ago I began to see research as a process more than a product. I began to break of the research paper into different steps for my students. The students found this helpful.

Arlene R. Quaratiello's The College Student's Research Companion does something similar. The book contains eight chapters: Chapter 1 discusses coming up with a "research plan." This includes choosing a topic and narrowing it. Chapter 2 emphasizes evaluating resources. The author describes her PACAC Method: purpose, authority, currency, accuracy, and content. Searching the Web is described in chapter three. The author offers good advice in this chapter. For example, she emphasizes the importance of evaluating websites and the problem of using sources from the web. Chapter four covers the basics of all databases and how to search them. The next two chapters teaches how to search for books and articles. Chapter seven discusses how to use reference sources, both print and non-print. In this new edition, tha author has added new information. For example, in chapter eight she describes how to take different types of notes and provides a reference guide for citing in the three most popular formats: MLA, APA, and Chicago.

Quaratiello has made a good book better. It is a good introduction for senior high students and beginning college students. It would be also useful for the beginning adult researcher. It emphasizes the importance of libraries and how to use them most officially. It also includes helpful information on how to search databases. In addition, she provides information on how to get the most use out of websites. The author  also stresses the importance of evaluating resources. I recommend this book for beginning researchers and those who need a refresher. The good thing about this book is that it can be read in a few hours and it is easy to read.

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