4/2/15 – I was going to write this post about books — pros and cons of using books vs. the internet, etc., but I thought the subject might be a bit too broad. You could write a book about that. Still, I’ll give it a go.
Also, there are tornadoes heading at me tonight, and they are calling for hail TO THE SIZE OF TENNIS BALLS, so this is going to be a short post.
Image: Wide World Magazine, 1898 / Wikimedia Commons
4/3/15 – UPDATE: Good news; no hail. My car is fine. Whew! Sorry I’m late with this post. It’s that time of year again.
You may wonder why anyone would use books for research these days. You might even ask:
“Why can’t I just go on the internet and find research?”
Well, you can, and there’s a lot of material out there, both accurate and not (I’ll deal with checking that in a later post). You can download books to e-readers and read bits of books or even entire works online. The latter might be old, but they could still provide value, especially if you’re doing historical research.
Sometimes, you have to use a book. If you do, plenty of students, teachers, writers, and readers have offered tips for doing so.
If you need to find an obscure book, the internet can often do that. I found a library book I’d read in high school without knowing the title or the author. Ain’t modern technology great?
You can even ask the librarian to do a book search for you. Yes, the library will do this–it’s a thing. A very cool thing. Make sure you return it on time, however, so others can use it too.
“What if I don’t have time to read an entire book?”
Funny you should ask! I found this terrific article on how to skim through a book for research purposes. This will help me out a lot. I use sticky notes all the time in books, the small thin ones, to flag pages. I wish like hell I’d had this article at my fingertips during college.
You might not have to. A chapter or two might fulfill your needs, especially if the book has very clearly delineated sections.
“How do I cite the book in my bibliography?”
Depends on what style you’re using. Writers use APA (American Psychological Association) style for social sciences papers. They use MLA (Modern Language Association) for liberal arts and humanities.
So your childhood development class professor will ask you to use APA, and your English professor may ask you to use MLA. For other types of publications, your editor will probably prefer the Chicago Manual of Style.
Go to this link at Purdue University’s OWL (Online Writing Lab) for APA-style citations.
Here’s another OWL link for MLA-style citations.
And this one for Chicago Manual of Style citations.
If you’re smart, you’ll bookmark the OWL site—it’s wonderful. I know you’re smart or you wouldn’t be here. Ha!
So there you have it. Books can be a huge help when you’re researching, and they’re usually pretty interesting on their own. But I don’t have to tell YOU that–you’re all great readers, aren’t you?
If you haven’t been to the library for a while, check it out. Even if you don’t have a research project to do, you might find a book that will spark an idea, or even a new interest. And you’ll support your local library. It’s a win.