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InfoGuides | Pepperdine Libraries

International Programs Student Worker Guide: Research


It bears repeating, you're not alone; transfer difficult research questions to the librarians. You can email us directly or show students how to message us using “Ask A Librarian.” Also, remember we created the InfoGuides in “Research Help for Your Classes” which recommended databases and link to eBooks.  We don’t expect you to answer ALL the questions. 

Getting Started

These databases are a good place to start your research and gather information on your topic.   

Don't forget eBooks can provide helpful introductory information.  

Ask a Librarian

Reading Prompts & Asking Open Ended Questions

Research Question 

  • A research question must be a question. 
  • A Thesis is the question and how you will answer it
Types of Research Assignments:
  1. Set or Canned Question(s) (pick one of these)
  2. Set Parameters Question (freedom to select pieces of the question)
  3. Choose A Question Exploring Topic X 

Identifying hidden research question:

  • "Do you have books on topic X" or "Where are the books on X."
  • I need information on WW2
  • Do you have information about Jefferson

You can ask follow-up/clarifying questions.

Is this for a class assignment? Or What is your assignment?

Thesis= is the question and how you will answer it.

Once you have an idea of the thesis build the search:

How to Build a Search:

  • Identify the main parts of a question
  • Identify terms that represent the parts
  • Combine terms to build a search

Record any assistance you provide in SIRSA 


Pick one these question to answer: 

  1. Was Christianity United in 18th century America? If so, around what principles? If not, why not?
  2. Was Thomas Jefferson a Christian? Why or why not?
  3. Should early America have adopted an established (i.e. state sponsored) religion? If so, which religion? If not, why not?

What was the relationship between Christianity and slavery in post-Revolution, pre-Civil War America?

​​Open-ended questions for scenario A:

  1. Did you discuss these topics in class?
  2. What is your hypothesis (guess- if you had to answer now)?

Research Plan (where to look): textbook, class lectures, InfoGuides, eBooks, databases.

If I search Jefferson I’ll get too much-unrelated information Jefferson AND religion or to further narrow/specify results try Jefferson AND (religion OR Bible OR Christianity).  If he’s not a Christian what would he be? Try refining the search this way Islam AND Jefferson Views or Jefferson AND not Christian.

  • Have them identify helpful information because it is their research project.
  • When you find a potential resource Ask: Does this look helpful, or is it off topic? Why or why not? 


  • Comparing and contrasting a developmental task in emerging adulthood in Germany and our home culture.

The student’s specific question:

I am interested in examining how birth order or sibling relationships impact the identity in emerging adulthood. 

Open-ended questions for scenario B:

  • What is your research question?
  • What is your hypothesis (guess- if you had to answer now)?

Make sure you understand their thesis it will help you know where to look

  • Where to look: textbook, class lectures, InfoGuides, eBooks, databases.
  • Once you understand the question identify the key information for the question that you can use to build a search.  [Birth order AND (child development OR personality) AND Germany]
  • Who has that information? Ex: what database  or a book
  • Have them identify helpful information because it’s there research project. When you find a potential resource Ask:
    • Does this look helpful, or is it off topic? Why or why not?
  • GET HELP from a librarian


  • Pick a topic to research addressing something of interest to you that  we covered in this World War Two History Class

The student’s specific question: Can be anything….

Helpful Open-ended question:

  • What topics on this subject interest you?
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How To Locate Course Specific InfoGuides

InfoGuides were created by librarians with course-specific research assistance by compiling helpful databases. 

Also, remember databases have a short description of the content that you can use to identify the databases with potentially relevant information.

Please contact Jaimie Beth Colvin --  

If you have any suggestions for improvements or additions to the InfoGuide for your location. 



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