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
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.
- 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.
Boolean Operators: Geography
Boolean operators are words (or, and, not) used to connect search terms to expand (or) or narrow (and, not) a search within a database to locate relevant information. Boolean operators are also called logical operators or connectors.
It is helpful to diagram the effects of these operators
A symbol * used at the end of a word to retrieve variant endings of that word. It allows you to search the "root" form of a word with all its different endings.
Truncation will broaden or increases search results. Truncation = OR
Example: rain* retrieves rainfall OR Rainier OR rainout
Citation Formatting Tools
- American Anthropology Association citation style guide
- APA Style Guide (PDF) by Eric Garcia
- MLA Style Guide (PDF) by Eric Garcia
- Chicago Manual of Style Online
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
Scholarly 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
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
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.