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 research. Here are some databases you can use to search encyclopedias and other reference sources to get a basic understanding of your topic.
Gale Virtual Reference Library: Over 100 encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized 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 research. These keywords can come from your own knowledge of your topic or from searching background information.
My proposal: Filtering the information we get online makes it easier than ever to miss out on information we choose not to see, making it more important than ever that students learn critical thinking skills and web evaluation in school in order to understand where online information is coming from.
|Main Keyword 1||Main Keyword 2||Main Keyword 3|
|filter bubble||search engines||information literacy|
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 General OneFile database:
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:
Sociological Abstracts: Articles and book chapters in the field of sociology
PsycINFO: Articles and book chapters in the field of psychology
Business Source Elite: Scholarly articles on business topics, including marketing and advertising
If you need an article or book that we don't have, we can order it from another library through Interlibrary Loan.
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:
What is a Scholarly Article?
Unsure about what it means when an article is scholarly? This video will explain:
If you are using a website as a source for your paper, make sure it is a reliable source. Don't know what that means? Ask yourself these questions to determine if the website is authoritative, unbiased, current, and accurate:
This video will explain more:
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