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
Types of Sources
Organization and flow of ideas
- Select/define/refine/focus your idea
- Determine if you will be able to cover all the important points of your topic in the space you have to fill
- 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.
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
- New topics may not yet be included in the database's controlled vocabulary.
- Using the appropriate subject heading for a topic will retrieve all items in the database indexed under that topic.
- If you do not know the appropriate subject heading for your topic, conduct a keyword search first and look at the subject heading(s) of a relevant item.
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
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 Formatting Tools
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.