Access Databases from Off Campus
Only current CSUN students, faculty and staff can access our databases from off campus. To access the databases from off campus, click the name of the database. You will then see a screen asking you to log in, using your CSUN User ID and password (the same ID and password you use to log in to the portal).
An alternative is to download and use the campus Virtual Private Network. This allows you to use your computer as if it was on campus. The VPN also supports uploading files to your campus udrive.
Know Your Assignment Requirements
Research Assignment and Instructor Expectations
Completed by due date (the Research Project Calculator can help you plan to finish on time)
Length of finished product
Sources selected and used
Organization and flow of ideas
- Select/define/refine/focus your idea
- 5 Ws (who, what, why, when, where) and how
- Determine if you will be able to cover all the important points of your topic in the space you have to fill
Developing a Search Strategy
Once you have chosen a topic, write it down in the form of a question or brief statement:
What was the influence of the Ottoman Empire on the art & architecture in Venice?
Underline the key words and phrases that are most specific to your topic.
What is the relationship between Ottoman and Venice?
Write down each key word or phrase, and underneath it, list synonyms or related terms.
Use a dictionary or thesaurus to find additional keywords. For example:
|Turkish Turk||Northern Italy||painting architecture sculpture|
Think about the singular, plural, and other endings of words and write down the root of the word.
Art Architecture arts artists church churches basilica
Write down your key words and phrases along with their synonyms in the form of a Boolean search statement. Use the root word, and truncate it with an asterisk (*). Note: Different databases use different truncation or wildcard symbols. Check the database's help page. For example:
(Art or painting or sculpture) and (turk* or ottoman) and (church* basilica)
- Use keyword when your term may be very new, very distinctive, or jargon, e.g. "instant messaging", "XML".
- Use a variety of keywords. There may be additional items on your topic that use different terms.
- Be aware that you may retrieve items not related to your topic (called false drops)
- When you cannot remember the exact title of an item, do a keyword search using the title words you remember.
Subject Searching Examples
Looking at the results, you would hopefully recognize the book you were seeking (in this case, #2).
- Conduct a keyword search using the term "ocean birds"
You searched for the WORD: ocean birds QL673.L73 1984b Author: Lofgren, Lars. Title Ocean birds: their breeding, biology & behavior / Lars Lofgren. Publisher Beckenham, Kent: Croom Helm, c1984. Description 240 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm. Bibliography Bibliography: p.236 Subject Sea birds.
- Once you have a relevant item, check the subject heading.
- Now conduct a subject search using the correct subject heading, sea birds.
You searched for the SUBJECT: sea birds.
23 SUBJECTS found with 37 ENTRIES
- Sea Birds---3 related Subjects
- Sea Birds- (11 entries)
- Sea Birds--Behavior
- Sea Bird-Ecology
By selecting #2, you will get a list of all the items on the topic of ocean birds (indexed in the database as "sea birds"). Note also the list of subject headings allows you to locate items on more specific topics as well as related topics.
Narrow or Broaden Your Search
Use AND between terms to narrow your search
example: television and violence and children
Use OR and/or truncate (*, ?) words to broaden your search
example: children or youth or adolescents
example: child* (will find child, children, etc.) Note: check online help for the correct truncation symbol
Find a Book on the Shelves
- Check the Status field of the book's record in the catalog.
- IN LIBRARY - book is available for checkout.
- DUE + date - book has already been checked out.
- The Location field shows the general location of the book.
- Most books are on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
- For other locations, check the location codes table.
- The Call # field gives the book's call number, which serves as the book's address in the library. Each row of books on the 2nd and 3rd floors will have a sign at the end indicating which call numbers can be found on that row.
How to Read Call Numbers
Scholary Journals (Peer-Reviewed/Referred)
- Authors are authorities in their fields.
- Authors cite their sources in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies.
- Individual issues have little or no advertising.
- Articles must go through a peer-review or refereed process.
- Articles are usually reports on scholarly research.
- Illustrations usually take the form of charts and graphs.
- Articles use jargon of the discipline
Saving Items to E-mail, Print or Download from the Library Catalog
To save items:
- From a multiple item results list, select the checkboxes next to the items you wish to save, then click .
- In an individual record, click .
To export items:
- To e-mail, print or download saved items, click the "View Saved" button.
- Choose an export format:
- "Brief Display" includes publication information only.
- "Full Display" includes location, call number, subject headings, and other descriptive information.
- "End-Note/RefWorks" to export citations for use in EndNote Web, EndNote Desktop, or Refworks.
- Under "Send list to" choose an export method:
- For e-mail: select E-mail and provide a "Mail To" address and subject line
- For printing: select screen (you will use the browser's print function)
- For saving as a text (.txt) file or other file format: select local disk
- Click Submit.
Evaluating Print & Electronic Resources
World Wide Web sites come in many sizes and styles. How do you distinguish a site that gives reliable information from one that gives incorrect information? Below are some guidelines to help.
For both print and Internet resources, consider:
Types of Web Sites: the url is a key
Citation Styles: APA, Chicago, MLA, and others
- Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (print version)
- Sample Style Sheet for APA Bibliographic Citatons (PDF) by Dr. Karin Durán
- Sample APA-Style Annotated Bibliography (PDF) by Dr. Karin Durán
- APA Style Guide (PDF) by Eric Garcia
- APA - Frequently Asked Questions
- Electronic Reference Formats Recommended by the American Psychological Association.
- APA Style Resources
- Chicago Manual of Style Online: Citation Quick Guide
- Chicago Manual of Style Online
- Brief Citation Guide for Internet Resources based on Turabian's principles.
- The Chicago Manual of Style (print version)
- MLA handbook for writers of research papers (print version)
- MLA Style - Quick Guide by Eric Garcia
- Sample MLA-Style Annotated Bibliography (PDF) by Dr. Karin Durán
- MLA Style Guide (PDF) by Eric Garcia
- MLA - Frequently Asked Questions
- EasyBib MLA style bibliography compose
- Scientific style and format: the CSE manual for authors, editors, and publishers (print version)
- The ACS style guide: effective communication of scientific information (print version)
- AIP Style Manual: online or print
- American Sociological Association Style Guide (print version)
- American Anthropology Association citation style guide