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Academic Search Complete: Everyone will want to start with this database.
At the top of the search page, there is a link that says “Choose Databases”. Click that link to add in other databases related to your topic. This allows you to search multiple databases at one time and have results from all of them show up in one results list. Suggestions on databases to add are:
- Education Research Complete
- CINAHL Plus (Nursing)
- Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection
- Sociological Collection
“And”, “Or”, “Not” (Boolean Operators): Use the words to narrow or expand your search results. For Example:
- “automobiles” AND “accidents” will return results that contain BOTH of the terms.
- “juvenile” OR “adolescent” OR “teenager” will return results that contain at least one of the terms. Useful for words with similar meanings.
- “cinderella” NOT “rock band” will return results that do NOT include the 1980’s rock band, Cinderella.
Brainstorm words or concepts that are similar in meaning and use those as search terms. If you find a good resource, look at the “Subject Headings” or “Descriptors” listed and use those as additional search terms.
Bibliographies/References/Works Cited pages are great ways to find additional resources. You can search the library’s Catalogs and/or Databases.
Peer-Reviewed/Scholarly Journal Articles
There are many terms for peer-reviewed articles and journals, such as: scholarly, refereed, and professional. All of these terms mean the same thing and are interchangeable. Finding these types of articles is not as difficult as one might think. There are several things you can look for to help determine if an article is peer-reviewed or scholarly.
- Length: Scholarly journal articles will be much longer than magazine or regular journal articles.
- Vocabulary: These articles are intended to be read by people already in this field of study or students who are preparing for this field. Therefore, authors of these articles will often use jargon and terms associated with that field.
- Research: These articles will also include some research information–either from original research (in which case they will provide information on how the study was conducted), or research gathered from other sources (if this is the case, you will see a resources list–much like a “Works Cited” page).
There are other clues you can look for to determine whether an article is scholarly, but those are the main ways to tell. In most databases, you will see an option on the search page to limit to peer-reviewed articles (as shown in the picture below). Using this option on the search page will weed out articles from your results list that are not peer-reviewed.
The video below explains what a peer-reviewed/scholarly article is and describes the differences between scholarly/peer-reviewed articles and other articles.
Fake News & Evaluating Websites
Let’s face it–there is a lot of information available on the Internet! How do you determine if it’s GOOD information, especially if you want to use it for research?
- Who wrote this information, and why?
- What credentials or expertise does the author have in the subject area?
- Is the information fact-based, or opinion-based?
- Who owns or is sponsoring the website?
- Who is the intended audience? Is it for scholars, the community, or private groups?
- Does the site include a mission statement?
- What is the purpose of the site? Is it to inform, instruct, persuade, or to sell?
- Is the information biased? If so, does the author acknowledge these biases?
- Does the author present alternative points of view?
- Does the website sponsor have any vested interests that could cause bias?
- Is the information contained in this site correct?
- How accurate is other information within the site?
- Where does the information come from?
- Does the author provide references or a bibliography?
- If references are listed, are they from primary or secondary sources? Are the references themselves trustworthy?
- Do the links to references work, or are they broken?
- When was the site last updated?
- Have there been any new developments or changes in that subject since it was created? Is it outdated?
- How current are the sources listed as references?
- How will using this source contribute to your research?
- Is this type of resource permitted by your professor?
Annotated Bibliography Info
Below are some links to resources that explain what an annotated bibliography is, outline how to create an annotated bibliography, and show examples of annotated bibliographies. Please note that they may or may not be in the same citation style as required for this course. Make sure you are using APA style for your annotated bibliography.
- The OWL Annotated Bibliography page
- Cornell University Libraries Annotated Bibliography page
- Skidmore College Annotated Bibliography page
Q & A on APA
Q. How do I format my paper according to APA style? What spacing and font should I use? What should my title page look like?
A. General APA Formatting Info
Q. How do I cite information in the body of my paper? What should a quote or paraphrase look like in my paper?
A. In-Text Citation Basics
Q. What should my Reference list at the end of the paper look like? What should the header for this page look like? In what order should my references be listed?
A. Reference List Basics
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