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Non-traditional Students: Getting Started

Non-traditional students are known as adult students, adult learners, lifelong learners, or older students

What kind of information do you need?


Have problems with time management?

Plan and Stay on Task




You have a plan, so what's next?

The Research Process.



Putting your topic in the form of a question will help you focus on what type of information you want to collect:  who, what, where, why and how.

Writing a one sentence research question will help you narrow your search and focus your topic.

Narrow your search by using limiters.  You may limit:

by the  geographical area:

Example: What environmental issues are most important in the Southwestern United States?

by culture:

Example: How does the environment fit into the Navajo world view?

by time frame:

Example: What are the most prominent environmental issues of the last 10 years?

by discipline:

Example: How does environmental awareness effect business practices today?

by population group:

Example: What are the effects of air pollution on senior citizens?


Hard to Find Topics

Remember that a topic may be too difficult to research if it is:

  • locally confined - Topics this specific may only be covered in local newspapers and not in scholarly articles.

Example: What sources of pollution affect the City of Norfolk water supply?

  • recent - If a topic is too recent, books or journal articles may not be available, but newspaper or magazine articles may. Also, websites related to the topic may or may not be available.

Where to Start...

For background information, start in Google but DON'T stay there.  Searching in Google Scholar you may get full text articles but sometimes it requires a subscription.   Google Scholar only searches a fraction of the published scholarly literature. 


The library database, Credo Reference Online, will search several of our databases and catalog simultaneously. Do not use Credo Reference for in-depth research.  Credo is our academic Google!      Try the Mirror Effect



A search in Google compared to a search in Credo.                                                   

Google    climate change                



CREDO   climate change


(How many of these sites can pass the CRAAP test in Google?)             


Site Searches

Google Advanced Search Shortcuts

Use these two sites if you want authoritative information

Government Website Searches:

Educational Sites Searches:

PowerPoint Sites Searches:   transgender: .ppt





Key Databases

Need an overview?  Opposing Viewpoints in Context. (climate change)
 Global Issues in Context  (climate change and government)

Back Ground Information Credoreference