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Social Issues in Japan Through Online News: Getting Started

An online research guide for students of Ikuko Yoshida's JPN4601.01 class.

Writing a Research Paper

We would like to help you get started with your research paper or other assignment.  Here are a few suggestions and things to consider:

    1.  Make sure you understand the assignment.  Check with your teacher for clarification if you are unsure.
    2.  What kind of information sources will work best for your assignment?  Has your teacher asked you to use specific kinds of sources, or asked for a specfic quantity of sources?  Consult the chart on this page for more detail about kinds of sources and how to approach them. 
    3.  Use this guide and other links through the Crossett Library web site to collect books, articles, and any other relevant sources on your topic.
    4.  When in doubt, check with a librarian for assistance.  We are here to help, and we enjoy hearing about your work and helping in any way we can.

Here are some other web links with more useful information:


Types of Information Sources

When we begin a research project, we need to consider what kinds of sources are most appropriate.  Different kinds of projects suggest different types of information sources.  To choose the right resources, we need to consider such factors as who wrote it, how objective is it, how well-organized is it, how current is the information, and how well does it fit the assignment.

Consult the following chart to get a sense of different kinds of information sources and how to approach them:

How current?

Information Sources

Factors to Consider

Seconds / minutes

The Web, Radio, Television, Internet News Services, RSS

Does it present only one side of an issue?  Is coverage in-depth or superficial?  Does it seem professional?  Is the web site trying to sell something?


Television, Newspapers, Government Reports, Listserv

Who is presenting the information?  Is there any obvious bias?  Is this a news account, or a piece of creative writing?  Does the author offer evidence to support a claim? 


Popular Magazines


Scholarly Journals

Is this journal "peer reviewed"?  Is there an abstract for the article?  Does the abstract suggest that this article will be helpful for my research?  Is there a bibliography that might suggest other sources to consult?


Books, E-books

Is this book too general, or too specialized?  Is the material out of date?  Can I find out additional information about the author through an online search?


Reference sources--handbooks, some encyclopedias