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Cyberterrorism: Research: Where Do I Start?

Research: Where Do I Start?

  • Before you start researching, ask yourself these questions:
    • How much information do you need to complete your research?  Is your research focusing on one perspective of an issue or will you need to assess “pros and cons”? (Driscoll & Stolley, n.d., para. 2)
    • What kind(s) of information do you need? 
      • Are you looking for facts and statistics, personal or group opinions, experimental or other research studies?  Do you need marketing or consumer information?  Is your research based on current or historical information?
      • Do you need general information, scholarly articles, or peer-reviewed sources? (See below for information on how to evaluate potential research resources)
      • Will you use print or e-books? (See the tabs in this LibGuide for help finding books)  
      • What about Academic Journal articles? (See the tabs in this LibGuide for help finding articles)
      • Can you look at popular magazines like PC World and People Weekly or would a Trade Journal like the 2017 Restaurant Industry Outlook give you the information you need? (See the link below for an overview of popular, trade, and scholarly journals)
    • Do you need “hard research,” “soft research,” or both?
  • Hard (Scholarly) Research
    • Includes books, book chapters, journal articles, and research published online with accepted research paper structure (Introduction;  Problem Statement; Research Design or Method; Results; Discussion; and References)
    • Is considered to be scientific and objective
    • Contains proven facts, figures, statistics
    • Is based on using credible (trustworthy) sources
  • Soft (Popular, Industry, or Niche-Specific) Research
    • Can be biased or subjective
    • Often is cultural and opinion-based
    • Resources often are less scrutinized and there tends to be no uniform or accepted publication standards
    • Can be very helpful for current business and consumer research and marketing trends.  Good (and often acceptable) sources are:
      • Industry or company blogs and annual reports
      • Trade Association newsletters, publications, and websites
      • Personal websites of notable individuals associated with a company, product, or service
    • Wikipedia is not considered a reliable primary source for scholarly research, but mine the footnotes!  This said Wikipedia can be very helpful for learning company and product history as well as for current and historic pop culture trends.
  • Primary Research
    • Based on first-hand accounts, observations, and related information
    • Examples of primary sources include: diaries; interviews; letters; private and public documents; recordings; reports from public gatherings; statistics; and surveys

For an example of and more information on Primary Research methods, read the Purdue Online Writing Lab article, “What Is Primary Research and How Do I Get Started?”

  • Why Not Just Use Google?
    • Companies spend $$$ to get their ads at the top of Google’s search pages
    • 10 seconds with Google is not research
    • As of April 26, 2017, there were at least 4.51 billion indexed (searched) web pages (“The Size of the World Wide Web,” 2017)
    • Every web page has an agenda
    • Not every web page is accurate
    • Google delivers web pages but does not evaluate them


Evaluating Research Resources

One of the most important skills you will gain as a student is evaluating whether or not a source you want to use is a good source.


Off Campus Library Services (OCLS) has designed a helpful web page with information on evaluating Research Resources that starts with tips on how to evaluate web pages. 

Further down the page, you can find information on how you can decide if a print source – a book, magazine article, brochure, and so on – is one you think is acceptable to use.


Click on the following links to access other OCLS Research Helps:




Driscoll, D. L., & Stolley, K. (n.d.). Research: Where do I begin? Retrieved from

The size of the world wide web (the internet). (2017, April 26). Retrieved April 26, 2017, from

Forming a Research Question

An Open-Ended, Thoughtful Question Drives Research

Good research explores questions without easy answers.  Narrowing a topic to a primary question will get your research off to the right start.
Questions require answers. 
A topic is too broad to cover thoroughly, but a question has an answer.
Here are some examples of topics and possible questions:
Abortion: Are laws requiring waiting, counseling, or sonograms effective in reducing abortions?
Computer Network Security: What network security standards should be used to protect sensitive data?
Drugs and Crime: Could legalization of less harmful drugs like marijuana reduce crime in the U.S.?
International Relations: What cultural factors influence a person's view of other countries within a global context?
Sports Injuries: Why do heat exhaustion deaths occur and how can they be best avoided?
Working Women: In what fields have women achieved the greatest equality and through what means?​  
A question is a way of evaluating the evidence.   
A clearly stated question helps you decide what information you need to include in your paper and what information is not relevant.
An open-ended question calls for real research and thinking.
A question with no easy answer makes research and writing more meaningful to both you and your audience. Your research may then solve a problem or contribute to the field of knowledge.

Save Yourself Time! Schedule a Research Appointment Today!

Make a Research Appointment with an OCLS Librarian.  

Options include In Person (Face to Face), Phone, and Video Call Interviews.

For more information, call Off Campus Library Services at 1-800-521-1848

APA Help: Avoid Academic Honesty and Plagiarism

Avoid Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism by citing and referencing the sources you use.  

Indiana Wesleyan University uses APA Style, a set of writing and citation rules developed by the American Psychological Association for all of its academic programs.  

The OCLS APA 6e Guide includes helpful information, example citations and references, and step-by-step directions for working with APA format.  

Academic Writer is an online learning and paper writing system that will help you create your own APA Style Papers with the correct format.  Type information about your paper and sources and Academic Writer automatically formats title pages, References lists, in text citations, margins, etc.  When papers are finished, Academic Writer re-creates them as Microsoft Word documents.

Other Research Helps

APA Paper Template (Microsoft Word document)

APA Style Blog from the American Psychological Association, the inventors of APA format

APA Video Tutorials from the Off Campus Library Services staff

Annotated Bibliography Example from OCLS (PDF document)

Creating an Annotated Bibliography in Microsoft Word (Video)

OCLS Is Here to Serve You!

Call OCLS at 1-800-521-1848
Online Request for Services Form:​
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Friday: 8 am - 5 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am - 2 pm