COLLEGE LEVEL RESEARCH WORKS LIKE THIS:

1. EXPLORE TO GET YOUR FEET WET. Start at Wikipedia to get an overview of some key facts and make a list of important keywords. Browse using Google to get a feel for the variety of source materials online.

2. FIND CREDIBLE EXPERTS AND DEVELOP THE LANGUAGE YOU NEED TO LEARN MORE. Use keywords to find books at the Paley Library -- books give you a "big picture" perspective from experts of the highest quality. Browse around in the stacks since you may discover a relevant book that you didn't notice in the electronic database. Read a couple of chapters from a few different authors and make careful notes as you read. For each source, find 1 - 3 direct quotes that are so powerful and relevant that you may be able to use them in your own writing. And keep track of all the sources you consult in a separate document, using APA format so you can document your research adventure carefully. A chapter from a book is an excellent choice for your precis.

3. DEEPEN AND NARROW YOUR FOCUS. Identify some specific issues, topics or questions that are most interesting to you. Create another list of keywords and use library databases to search the scholarly and professional literature. You will find Academic Search Premier, Communications and Mass Media Complete to be useful databases to start your search. Read the abstracts of several articles until you find material that really helps you learn. As you search, pay attention to keywords and continue to refine your search by modifying keywords as you learn more. Read a few articles from a few different authors and make careful notes as you read. For each source, find 1 - 3 direct quotes that are so powerful and relevant that you may be able to use them in your own writing.

4. SUMMARIZE WHAT YOU'VE LEARNED AND MAKE A LIST OF QUESTIONS. Start writing -- because as you summarize what you have learned, you will naturally discover that you have more questions. As you write, keep track of these questions. Now return to Steps 2 and 3 to learn more.

5. USE A LIBRARIAN'S TALENTS TO GO DEEP. Librarians are incredibly helpful in finding very specific information that can help you become an expert on your topic. Take your new questions to Christina DeVoe or another librarian and ask her to guide you through the process of finding answers. You will learn more new search strategies in one single session with a librarian than you can imagine!

6. GO BACK TO GOOGLE. Now you're in a good position to explore information sources on Google, including blogs, videos and other sources. You've got a base of knowledge that helps you critically analyze the quality of information that's online. Because you have more background knowledge, you can more easily find the many gems of amazing stuff and avoid the crap that's oh so plentiful.