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Surgical Technology

A Simple Research Process

This page outlines a simple seven-step strategy for finding information for a research paper.  Steps may be rearranged to suit your purpose.  This Library Guide follows this strategy for doing research.

Steps in Research

1.  Identify and define your topic.  Put your research topic into a question such as, "What is the role of saliva in disease detection?"  Now you can identify the main concepts and keywords.  Also consider alternate terms for your topic.  Are you actually looking for disease in general or something more specific like cancer? Be aware that many professional journals use the term "carcinoma" rather than cancer.

2. Background Information   Use the index in reference books such as encyclopedias to find your keywords or phases.  This will enable you to develop context and background for your research.  Be sure to check out the See also references at the end of encyclopedia articles as well as the bibliographies.

3.  Use the library catalog to find books.  Use your keywords to perform both keyword and subject searches.  You can find more help on the Books page of this guide about both keyword and subject searching.

4.  Use databases to find journal articles.  Be sure to choose appropriate databases for your topic. Several that are especially useful for surgical technology are listed on the Articles section of this guide. 

5.  Use Internet resources.  Be wary of general search engines like Google or Yahooand even Google Scholar, which have no quality control or evaluation and return millions of results.  Reliable medical websites are listed in this guide under Websites, Evidence-Based Medicine, and Professional Associations.

6.  Always evaluate what you find.  This library guide links to a variety of resources from the National Library of Medicine to help you evaluate websites you may come across.  Websites listed on this guide have already been evaluated for their reliability.  If you encounter a broken link, please send an email to the guide author.

7.  Cite your sources.  Citing gives proper credit to the authors of materials you use and allows your professors to verify your conclusions. There is an entire page on this guide that provides assistance for Citing Sources.  The usual style guides for Allied Heath professions are either APA or AMA.

Websites for Research Help

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000