This is the "Your Assignment" page of the "Biographical Research" guide.
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Biographical Research   Tags: biography  

How to find information on famous people.
Last Updated: Feb 15, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Your Assignment Print Page



What You Need to Know

Understanding Your Assignment

Before you begin looking for information you should make sure you understand your assignment. Some good questions are:

  • How many pages?
  • How many sources?
  • What kinds of sources?
    • Books
    • Articles
    • Websites
  • What format?

Your professor is your best resource to answer these questions.

image of student with her hand raised


Biographical Research

Your search for biographical information can include books, periodicals, online databases, and authoritative Internet sites. Within the guidelines of your assignment, select a person that interests you. Once you have selected an individual you’re interested in researching, use the reference sources available in the library and online to get some general information about that person. The library also has books and magazines that will give you even more information about the person you're researching.

What do you know and what do you need to know?

Before searching for information about a famous (or not so famous) person, it's useful to know:

  • possible name variations
  • the type of information you need, i.e. short vital statistics, an article, or book
  • is the person is living or dead
  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • profession, subject, or discipline



Research Basics - Step by Step

Breaking Down The Research Process  

  research process image

The following outline gives a simple and effective strategy for finding information for a research paper and documenting the sources you find. Depending on your topic and your familiarity with the library, you may need to rearrange or recycle these steps. Adapt this outline to your needs. We are ready to help you at every step in your research.

  1. Choose a topic - or have one assigned
  2. Understand your topic
    • Background reading
    • Consider a main focus
    • Refine your topic
    • Make a list of your keywords and concepts
  3. Search Sources
    • Find Books
    • Find Articles
    • Find Websites
  4. Write your paper - Informative, Analytical, Argumentative, Critical
  5. Cite your sources

            Talk to a Librarian

            Need Help 

            The Cerritos College Librarians can help you with your research in a variety of ways:

            Librarians are available during library hours to answer your questions by phone or chat.
            (562) 860-2451 x2425


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