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SEMR 2153 Information Literacy in the Social Sciences

Welcome to the Information Literacy in the Social Sciences research guide.

Focus the Topic

Research question: Will the legal restriction of cell phone use while driving reduce auto accidents caused by texting or talking while driving?

Focus the topic:

  • Geographic
    • United States
    • South Carolina
    • Pickens County
  • Age group 
    • Adult drivers
    • College aged drivers
    • Older drivers
  • Gender or ethnicity
    • Caucasian females
    • Native American males
    • African Americans

Example: Restrict research to information and data about college aged drivers in the United States.

What to Expect from the Librarians

Contact one of your friendly, professional librarians for research assistance.

What we can do:

  1. Help you access and use library resources such as databases.
  2. Help resolve off-site access to library resources and databases.
  3. Help you to construct search strategies and to find appropriate resources.
  4. Refer you to your instructor for clarification regarding assignments and projects.
  5. Point you to other resouces such as the Writing Center.

What we cannot do:

  1. Help you write your papers or complete your assignments.
  2. Explain your assignment. You should contact your instructor for clarification of assignments and projects.

Formulate a Research Question

Construct a research question or hypothesis

Research question: Will the legal restriction of cell phone use by drivers reduce auto accidents caused by texting while driving?

Hypothesis: The research presented here will demonstrate how new laws restricting or forbidding cell phone use by drivers will reduce auto accidents caused by texting while driving.


Identify different words for each of your concepts

  • Auto accidents:
    • Car accidents
    • Car crashes
    • Automobile acciden
  • Cell phones
    • Cellular phones
    • Mobile phones

Understand Your Assignment

Type of Assignment:

  • Speech
  • Group presentation
  • Research paper
  • Multimedia presentation

Length of Assignment:

  • Number of pages
  • Length of presentation
  • Number of words

Required sources:

  • Primary/secondary/tertiary sources
  • Scholarly sources
  • Books
  • Internet
  • Journal articles

Narrowing Your Topic


  • Aspect: look at just one facet of your topic
  • Time: shorter time period
  • Place: smaller area of analysis
  • Relationship: cause/effect, compare/contrast
  • Type: specific type, class of people
  • Combination: combine any of these areas