Getting some background information before you start researching will help you focus your topic and give you an idea of what to look for in your search. Here are some Reference Databases you can use to get a basic understanding of your topic.
Credo Reference: Over 200 encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources.
Gale Virtual Reference Library: Over 100 encyclopedias, almanacs, and other reference sources.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context: Features viewpoint articles, and topic overviews on controversial topics.
Before you start your research, brainstorm some broader, narrower and/or related keywords to help with your search. These keywords can come from your own knowledge of your topic or from searching background information.
My argument: Reality television showcases a high level of weight bias, which in turn affects young viewers' body image negatively.
|Main Keyword 1||Main Keyword 2||Main Keyword 3|
|reality television||weight bias||young adults|
|reality shows||body image||viewers|
|The Biggest Loser||eating disorders||young men|
|What Not to Wear||thin ideal||young women|
Using AND & OR in a Database
Databases search differently than most search engines. Once you've brainstormed your keywords, you can use the words AND & OR to manipulate your search. Here is an example from the Academic Search Premier database:
Placing multiple-word keywords in quotation marks will only search for the two terms together.
Remember- AND narrows your search while OR broadens it. Think of it like a Venn Diagram:
|Returns results with all of your keywords||Returns results with any of your keywords|
Find Articles in Databases
General/Multi-Subject Databases: These will bring back results from different disciplines and sources
Subject Databases: These will bring back results from a specific discipline:
Business Source Elite: Scholarly articles and business profiles
America: History & Life: Articles as well as dissertations on the history and culture of the United States and Canada
CINAHL Plus: Nursing and health articles
Communication and Mass Media: Journals in communication studies, speech, mass media, journalism, etc.
PsycARTICLES: Access to peer-reviewed articles from more than 50 journals in psychology
Sociological Abstracts: Over 1,600 serials publications, plus book chapters in the field of sociology
To find databases in other disciplines, use the Find Articles by Subject page.
If you need an article or book that we don't have, we can order it from another library through Interlibrary Loan.
Accessing Library Resources through Google Scholar
Click on Settings
Select Library Links
Search for CSUN, check the box and Save
If an article is available through a library database, you'll be able to access it by clicking on SFX Find It at CSUN
Ask A Librarian: Get help by text, e-mail, phone or in-person
Citing Your Sources: Get help with MLA Style Citations
The Writing Center: Make an appointment with a writing consultant to help with all stages of writing your paper.
Find Sources Using the Library's OneSearch Tool
Visit the OneSearch FAQ to learn all about how to use the library's new online OneSearch tool to find articles, books and more. Or, watch the How to Use OneSearch video:
It is important to evaluate your sources- even if they're scholarly. Use the CRAAP test as a guideline. This video will explain:
What is a Scholarly Article?
Unsure about what it means when an article is scholarly? This video will explain:
This video will roughly explain how different information sources are created:
Find an Article From a Citation
Learn more about the components of a citation and how to find an article using one at the Research Therapy Series' Finding an Article From a Citation.
Online Government Resources
USA.gov: Find government information, research and statistics.
Women's Health Resources: A collection of health topics and research from government sites.
American Factfinder: American Census data.
Medline Plus: Easy-to-understand and ad-free medical and health information.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Information on national and international business and labor topics, including the Consumer Price Index, Employment/Unemployment and National Compensation Data.