Chapter 10: Review and Exercises

Chapter Review

A Final Note

In college, as well as in the workplace, research is a complex and sometimes challenging process. Do not lose your confidence if you encounter some stumbling blocks, if your research doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, or if you initially struggle to find sources. To get a sense of just how frustrating research can be, try this episode of the podcast Reply All, which follows a journalist trying to figure out why a woman in New Jersey is getting strange calls to her office phone number. It’s a great example of formulating a specific research question, then using multiple methods to answer it.

Key Takeaways

Key Icon

  • In the workplace, the amount of research you do depends on the amount of time you have and the importance of the topic.
  • Having a clear research question will save you time. You may have to do some background research before you find your actual research question.
  • Being aware of the role the source will play in your argument will help you find appropriate sources. You can create a source plan to organize your research.
  • To do an effective online search, identify the main concepts in your research. Stick to nouns. Next, find related search terms. Use quotation marks around phrases to make your search more specific. You can also use wildcard symbols and boolean operators like ‘AND’ and ‘NOT’ to refine your search.
  • If you can’t find sources on your topic, try the “divide and conquer” approach.
  • To determine how useful a source is, you can evaluate it according to the CRAAP test. When evaluating online sources, it’s especially important to determine whether the author has the authority to speak on the topic and whether the ideas have been supported with evidence.
  • Research is a complex process and sometimes you might change your mind based on new research.

Exercises for Reflection 


Your instructor may ask you to complete the following exercises:

  1. Log in to Facebook or Twitter and try to find a political or health-related claim. Evaluate this claim according to the CRAAP test. Write a paragraph about your findings.
  2. If you’re taking more than one class, see if you can blend what you’re studying this week in two different classes into one thesis by using the “divide and conquer” method. For example, if you’re studying psychographic targeting in your marketing class and corporate social responsibility in your public relations class, you might write a research question that asks, “Is all psychographic targeting ethical?”


This chapter contains material from Choosing and Using Sources: A Guide To Academic Research by the Ohio State University Libraries, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This chapter also contains material from Divide and Conquer: Rethinking Your Research Sources , which is available from and is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license.

This chapter also contains material from SIFT: The Four Moves, which is licensed under a CC-BY 4.0 license.


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Chapter 10: Review and Exercises Copyright © 2021 by Melissa Ashman; Arley Cruthers; eCampusOntario; Ontario Business Faculty; and University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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