Riccomini U100

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Background Information

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.

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.

Keyword Brainstorming

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.

Let's say I'm thinking about doing my PSA on consumer behaviors to help conserve energy.

  Main Keyword 1 Main Keyword 2 Main Keyword 3
  consumer behavior energy conservation
  consumers motor vehicles emission
  students public transportation smog
  university campus carpool  
  young people cars  

Brainstorming keywords will also help you narrow your topic as you come up with specific concepts to focus on. As you start researching, you may find other terms to add to your Keyword Toolbox. Don't hesitate to add or eliminate keywords to find relevant results.

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:

first search box says consumers or campus or student, second search box separated by and says cars or "motor vehicle" or "public transportation", third search box separated by and says conservation or emissions or "climate change"

Librarian tips & tricks! Putting your search term in quotation marks will make sure the database only searches those two terms right next to each other, like "climate change".

Remember- AND narrows your search while OR broadens it. Think of it like a Venn Diagram:

AND OR
Venn diagram showing two overlapping circles with overlap highlighted Venn diagram showing two ovelapping circles where both circles are entirely highlighted
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

General OneFile
Academic Search Elite
LexisNexis

Subject Databases: These will bring back results from a specific discipline:

Sociological Abstracts: Articles and book chapters in the field of sociology

GreenFILE: Scholarly, government and general interest information on all aspects of human impact on the environment.

CINAHL Plus: Nursing and allied health journals

Business Source Elite: Scholarly articles on business topics, including marketing and advertising

Find more databases on the Databases 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.

Get Help

Your instructor:
Anna Fidgeon
annaliese.fidgeon@csun.edu
818-677-4729

First-Year Experience Librarian:
Susanna Eng-Ziskin
susanna.eng@csun.edu
818-677-4679

Ask A Librarian: Get help by text, e-mail, phone or in-person
Online Library & Research Help: How-To Guides and Tutorials

Writing Sources

Citing Your Sources: Get help with MLA Style Citations

Annotated Bibliography: Learn what one is and how to do one:

The Writing Center: Make an appointment with a writing consultant to help with all stages of writing your paper.

Plagiarism Explained

What is a Scholarly Article?

Unsure about what it means when an article is scholarly? This video will explain:

CRAAP Test

It is important to evaluate your sources- even if they're scholarly. Use the CRAAP test as a guideline. This video will explain:

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:

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.

Accessing Library Resources through Google Scholar

Google Scholar

Click on Settings

A screenshot of the home page of the Google Scholar website, with the Google logo and search box. A red arrow is pointed to the link for Settings in the upper right hand corner.

Select Library Links

A screenshot of the upper-left hand corner of the Google Scholar Settings page. There is a list of links for Scholar settings for "search results", "language" and "library links". A red arrow is pointed at "library links"

Search for CSUN, check the box and Save

Screenshot of Google Settings, Library Links page with a search box in the middle showing a search for "CSUN" and the results listing "Open WorldCat- Library Search" and "CSU, Northridge- SFX Find It at CSUN". Both results show a checkmark in the box to their left, with the "CSU Northridge" checkbox circled in red. A red arrow is pointed at the "CSU, Northridge" result and another red arrow is pointed at the Save box at the bottom-right of the results.

If an article is available through a library database, you'll be able to access it by clicking on SFX Find It at CSUN

A screenshot of a Google Scholar Results page, zoomed in on the options to the left of two articles. Links that say "SFX Find It at CSUN" are circled in red.