What do you need to do? Look for this information
Check with your lecturer early on if you are unsure of what you are expected to do.
Select the topic you will be writing on. Plan your research.
It may be helpful to produce a broad outline of your assignment by organising the concepts you have mind mapped into:
You may want to write a timeline for gathering and writing your assignment. You could try the online planning calculator at: https://owll.massey.ac.nz/academic-writing/assignment-planning-calculator.php
For help with time management, mind mapping and other study skills check out our Study Toolbox or make an appointment with a Learning Advisor.
Gather information from:
Use the key words you have listed as search terms in Search Rapua, the library catalogue, and in the library's databases and e-book collections as well as internet search engines.
Review and revise your search terms if you find too much or too little information.
If you find one article or book which is very good check the references/bibliography at the end for other material which may be useful.
If you need help searching the catalogue or databases make an appointment with your Subject Librarian
Focus on your topic and the structure of your assignment when selecting the information you will use from the sources you have found. Use a range of sources - some books, some journal articles and website information when appropriate.
Read critically. Evaluate the information you have found according to these criteria:
Relevance - is the content relevant to your topic and perspective?
Substance - Is the information too complex or too basic for your purpose?
Currency - is the information up-to-date, or appropriate to your research?
Authority - is the information provided by a person or organisation with expertise in this topic? This is especially important to consider for information taken from websites.
Accuracy - do details seem to be correct? Check important details in a second, unrelated source.
Bias - why has it been written? Is it written from fact or opinion? Are the facts correctly interpreted? Is a reference list included?
It is particularly important to evaluate information you collect from websites.
Take notes as you go. Make sure to :
You may wish to use citation software such as Zotero or Mendeley to record your sources.
Ask a Subject Librarian if you need help finding or selecting information or recording the details of your sources.
Review your notes to see if you have collected information to cover all the topics you need to discuss. Gather more information if necessary.
When preparing a written assignment:
Make an appointment with a Learning Advisor for help with academic writing.
Most schools at MIT require students to use the APA (American Psychological Association) referencing style for citing, quoting and referencing sources. Some subjects in the School of Engineering may require you to use the IEEE system. The library website has resources to guide you with both these styles..
See your Subject Librarian for help with APA or IEEE referencing.
When preparing a presentation:
Check your assignment sheet to make sure you have met all the requirements.
Contact staff in the library for more help with your research or you can use the Chat Now link on the home page of the library website.
If you need help identifying your keywords, locating resources or evaluating the resources you have found contact a Subject Librarian
You can make an appointment for 1:1 help or we can organise a group session if others in your class would like to join in.
Appointments can be face to face or online.
You can find a Make an appointment tile on the Help from our Staff page.