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CHEM111H: General Chemistry (Honors) (Compton)

Introduction to this Guide

This guide provides a selection of resources that will be useful to your work in this course. You will find information about searching for books using the library catalog (DELCAT), and finding articles from suggested science news sources or licensed databases. Also included is information for learning how to accurately cite your sources, as well as a selection of video tutorials.

The key to doing good research is to clearly define your topic, develop a broad list of appropriate keywords to use as search terms, and to keep looking in many different sources until you have enough information.

Search Strategies

Define your research topic in a sentence or two

  • Ask yourself: who, what, where, when, why, how

Identify the major concepts

List keywords for each concept

Select the resources according to needed information

  • General information, background: books, encyclopedias (DELCAT, CREDO Reference)
  • Current discussion or news reports: newspapers, trade magazines
  • Current research, technical information: journals, patents (databases)

Choose a research topic that interests you. If your topic is too general (e.g., sustainable energy), read an overview from a general source such as an encyclopedia to gain background information, get lists of books and articles for further reading, start to become familiar with the phrases and vocabulary used to describe the subject. 

As you learn more about the subject, ask yourself questions about what you want to know. This will help to narrow your topic and focus upon the aspect that you are going to research. So if you first thought of writing about renewable energy and batteries, try stating it in the form of a question: "How can batteries be used to store renewable energy?"

To further develop your topic, you may want to focus on a particular type of renewable energy (e.g., wind, solar, tides), or explore elements of battery design important in energy storage.

As you conduct research about your topic and develop your research question, you will become more familiar with the keywords and phrases used to describe the subject. Identify the major concepts of your research topic and start a list of the different keywords used.

The research question "How can batteries be used to store renewable energy?" has two major concepts:

  • renewable energy
  • batteries