Category: Reference

Exploring Research Topics

Are you struggling with finding the right topic for your research paper? This short Research Therapy video gives you suggestions on where to look for topic ideas, how to narrow your topic, as well as a couple of online library resources that are a great place to begin your research.

Topic Exploration image for video

Concept Mapping

Concept mapping is a great way to expand on a general topic; it also helps you to think about the different aspects of your topic. Here’s a template for a basic concept map. Here’s another concept map when you’re trying to identify the who, what, when, where, why or how of a topic.

As mentioned in the video keep in mind the different angles you could take on a topic:

  • Geographical → where
  • Sociological → who
  • Psychological → why
  • Historical → when

Library Databases

After you pick a general topic it’s a good idea to do some general background resources. Oviatt Library has several different online reference resources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographical resources and more. The databases mentioned in the video are Opposing Viewpoints in Context and Credo Reference, the library no longer has access to Credo so use Gale Virtual Reference instead.  We also have a list of online reference resources listed under the Find Articles by Subject page, as well as an organized list of our databases by subject.  We also have a general Research Strategies guide to help you along with the research process.

Don’t forget to Ask a Librarian if you have any questions.

 -Laurie Borchard


New Matadors Tour the Library

Matty at Library This month new CSUN first-time freshmen, transfer and international students will be visiting the Library to see, first-hand, all of the resources and services available them. Many new students begin their academic experience at CSUN during the spring semester and the Library participates in campus coordinated orientations to welcome these students. The new Matadors will be touring the Library’s Learning Commons and finding out where they can: get help with their research needs and borrowing materials; check out laptops and iPads; receive IT support; and learn about the technology that is available to them in our Creative Media Studio. In addition, these students will have the opportunity to tour the Learning Resource Center located on the third floor of the Library. It is our intention that these new Matadors feel welcomed and that they are supported to succeed within their new classes and throughout their CSUN academic journey. The Library looks forward to serving and working with these students during the coming semester and beyond.

– Coleen Martin

How to Read Citations

Have you ever stared at a citation and had no idea if it was a book, chapter in a book, article or website? This infographic in our Research Therapy series breaks down citations for you, highlighting the various elements that make up a citation.

How to read a citation

Book Citations 

Elements of a book citation: author, title of book, publisher information, year. and format.

Elements of a chapter in a book citation: author of chapter, title of chapter, title of book, editor of book, publisher information, and page range of chapters.

Book Clues:

  • If the citation has publisher name and location, it’s a book!
  • In MLA citation style the format means the medium of publication.
  • E-books may have a URL, database name, or date of access at the end of the citation.

Article Citations

Elements of magazine and journal article citations: author, title of article, title of publication, volume number, issue number, year of publication, and page numbers.

Elements of a newspaper article: author, title of article, title of publication, date of publication, page number or section.

For articles found in an online library database the only difference in the citation is the addition at the end of the citation of the following; name of the database, format, access date, and sometimes the URL or DOI.

Article Clue:

  • All published articles will have two titles; the title of the article and the title of the journal/magazine/newspaper.
  • In MLA the format for an article in a library database will say “web”, but it’s not a website.
  • Magazines may just have a month of publication instead of a volume and issue number.
  • Depending on the citations style, you may see a URL or DOI for an article in an online database.

Website Citations

The elements of a website citation usually include: author/editor, title of work or page, name of the website, publisher or sponsor of website, title URL, date of publication, format, and access date.

Website Clues:

  • Websites may not provide publication dates.
  • Websites don’t always have authors, they may just list the organization that created the website.
  • Depending on the citation style, you may see the term “retrieved from” followed by a URL.

Things to Remember

  • Every citation style is different, but the elements of what makes up a citation are the same.
  • If you’re unsure of what type of article it is, just Google the name of the publication
  • You can always ask a librarian for help!

– Laurie Borchard

Research Therapy: Finding Images Online

finding images infographicUsing images can greatly enhance your research paper, poster, or presentation.  However it can be confusing to know exactly where to find images and if you need permission to legally use it.

Please note that the use of images found in print or online may be protected by copyright. Some require permission under certain circumstances, and some may even cost a fee. To be safe always attribute the source of the image.

A great starting point to learn more about this topic is the Finding and Using Images guide. It has been created for the purpose of helping you find and use images for educational purposes. Here you will find information to understand resources available to help find images using websites and library databases, copyright information, and how to cite images in MLA and APA format:

Watch this video to learn more about Creative Commons licenses and where/how to search for these types of images within search engines such as Google Image, Flickr, and Wikimedia Commons.  – Jamie Johnson

Resource Guide: Data

Data imageData is an increasingly a popular topic for scholars and researchers. Moreover, data literacy is a new necessity for many institutions of education and employers. When to use them? Where to find them? What best to do with them? How to cite them? The Oviatt Library has a resource guide to help answer these questions:

Click on each various tab to guide you through either open datasets for different subjects if you are looking to find data for your research; learn to cite data; try creating an infographic with data; share data you have gathered; and manage the data so they will be preserved for future scholars.

Charissa Jefferson

Research Therapy: Let the Library Help during Finals Week

Finals Are You Stressed ComicHow the Library Can Help ComicThere’s no need to worry, the Oviatt Library can help! The Oviatt is open 24/7 from Monday to Friday during finals week. We know that none of you would wait until the last minute to do your research, but just in case you did and you’re struggling, you can get help from a Librarian 24/7. Come see a librarian at the reference desk in the Learning Commons. During finals week from Monday to Thursday there will be a librarian at the desk from 8am to 9pm, on Friday from 8am to 4:45pm. You can also contact us online, via chat or email as well as text messaging, check out our Ask a Librarian page. You can also get help online with oour subject and course guides, including a guide for Citing Your Sources.

The Learning Resource Center is located on the 3rd floor of the library in the East wing; they offer tutoring, help with paper writing and citations. Check out their webpage for more information and be aware that their Writing Center closes Wednesday May 14th so make sure to call ASAP to make an appointment.

If you just need a place to study, don’t forget that you can reserve group and individual study rooms in the library. You can reserve these rooms in advance online, using our online booking system.

In case you need a break we have special events happening every day of Finals week. We’ll be handing out pillows all week along with special events like: arts & crafts, comedy movies, nap time and therapy dogs. Check out the flyer for dates and times of these events.

For more suggestions on how to de-stress, check out Pinterest page for tips on relaxation, motivational memes and cute photos of animals.

Just remember to keep calm and carry on and if you can’t do that, then scream, dance, or shake it out!!!

-Laurie Borchard

Business Resources at the Oviatt

The new business librarian at the Oviatt, Charissa Jefferson, liaises to the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics. She is responsible for developing the library collection for business subjects and is willing to take your suggestions! Simply fill out the purchase recommendation form:

Over the 2013-214 academic year, the business collection has increased in electronic resources, although there are still print books bought. So remember the books on the shelves are only a small part of the larger collection that tells the story of the business collection at the Oviatt. Find these new and wonderful sources from the Library Catalog or the Books and Media tab from OneSearch.

Charissa has created short videos for faculty and students that highlight her consultation services on research projects as well as her willingness to share her knowledge and expertise with the campus community.

Video for Students: please click on the image below to view the video.

Video for Faculty: please click on the image below to view the video. 

– Charissa Jefferson

Browsing the Oviatt Collection Section by Section

stacksHi Matadors!

Today I wanted to discuss how we organize the library book collection. We often receive questions from students wanting to browse certain collections, such as:

“Where is the poetry section?” or “Where are the art books?”

This seemingly simple question is often difficult to answer because of how we organize the books. Unlike the public library or bookstore the collection is organized using the Library of Congress (LOC) Classification. All materials inside the library have call numbers beginning with a letter or two, then is followed by a set of numbers.  The letters at the beginning represent the subject area.

So in order to browse, you would need to know what subject area it would fall under. For instance, if you are searching for poetry you will need to start in the Language and Literature section of the library (P – PZ). This section is located on the third floor of the library and is pretty extensive covering almost a third of that floor – shelves 3 through 20.

Of course not all of these books are poetry but include fiction, plays, drama, essays, literary criticism, diaries, letters and so on.  Unfortunately, all poetry books are not grouped together in one section; however, they’re divided into regions of author’s nationality or language. American, English, Russian, or Spanish poetry are grouped together in different sections.  You would have to know which country you wanted to browse then look up the call number range. But be careful – you might be missing out on some great resources this way. For instance, if a book is checked out you have no way of knowing if you are only browsing through the stacks.

When browsing the collection it is best to come up with a plan.  First, try utilizing the library catalog. This may be a simpler task than sifting through hundreds of books on a shelf and will also provide some helpful information such as content, summary and/or subject terms. Once you find a book, you can head up to that section of the library. We also have thousands of electronic books that would only be accessible through the catalog.  If you cannot find materials this way and still want to physically browse the shelves take a look at the below classification outline.

If you would like help browsing the collection you could always Ask a Librarian! at the reference desk, via text or live chat.

Here is an outline of the Library of Congress Classification:

  1. A.    General Works
  2. B.    Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
  3. C.    Auxiliary Sciences of History
  4. D.    World History and History of Europe Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand
  5. E.    History of the Americas (North America)
  6. F.    History of the Americas (United States local history, Latin America)
  7. G.    Geography, Anthropology, Recreation
  8. H.    Social Sciences
  9. J.     Political Science
  10. K.    Law
  11. L.    Education
  12. M.   Music
  13. N.    Fine Arts
  14. P.    Language and Literature
  15. Q.    Science
  16. R.    Medicine
  17. S.    Agriculture
  18. T.    Technology
  19. U.    Military Science
  20. V.    Naval Science
  21. W.   Bibliography, library science

A full description of the classification system is available from the Library of Congress.

–       Jamie Johnson

Research Therapy: How To Find Statistical Data

Do you need to back your research up with statistics? The Oviatt Library provides access to several statistical databases, as well as online guides to help you find exactly what you need. There are also a lot of resources freely available on the web.

This short video shows you how to find our collection of statistical resources, as well as how to search some of them. 

Research Therapy on Statistics

For more information, check out our Finding Statistics and Finding Statistics by Zip Code guides.

-Isabelle Ramos

Web of Science now available at the Oviatt Library

Web of ScienceThe Web of Science database is now accessible through the Oviatt Library’s current database collection. Often referred to as the most interdisciplinary and comprehensive subscription-based citation resource, the Web of Science extracts citation information from articles in more than 10,000 journals from a wide variety of disciplines. Quite commonly, Web of Science users are able to forgo searching for citation information in numerous different databases only to find, analyze and share scientific and citation information easily with this very unique research tool. Here are just some of the Web of Science’s features:

  • Find a citation count for an article;
  • Determine which journal articles have cited a particular work;
  • Find current articles on a topic;
  • Create a citation map for an article which illustrates the connections between citing authors, institutions and fields of study;
  • Provide a citation analysis report for an author;
  • Determine the most highly cited works for an author;
  • Determine the most highly cited articles for a journal;
  • Identify top researchers in a field;
  • Eliminate self-citations from a citation count.

Disciplines that publish heavily in journal literature such as the sciences are better covered in the Web of Science than other subject areas such as business and education. In these instances we recommend referring to the Oviatt’s Searching Cited References Guide. Or for more information contact us at Ask A Librarian.

–         Coleen Martin

Daily, Weekly, Gazette: Where to Find Hot-Off-The-Press News or Cooled Off Stories

Newspapers, newspapers everywhere and not an article for me!

Have to find a newspaper article for an assignment? Want to use a newspaper as a primary source to understand how an event was reported on when it happened? Have you used up your free New York Times articles, but still want to read the news? The Oviatt Library can help you.

This video explains three ways to access the Library’s newspaper subscriptions online: through OneSearch, the News & Current Issues databases, and through a Journal title search.


On a related note: you might take a look at the Research
Therapy session The Info-Cycle for more information on how news contributes to human knowledge.

– Anna Fidgeon

Research Therapy: Keeping Those References in Line

You’re almost there! You dominated that test, you perfected your presentation, you’ve written a gazillion pages. But, one thing looms:

works cited page

You have options! Let me introduce 5 free tools that will help you keep your citations organized as well as generate your citations for you. But remember: each of these citation tools are only meant to HELP you. If the computer makes a mistake, you’re the one getting marked down for it. Use the Oviatt Library’s Cite Your Sources page thoughtfully—for proofreading and more.

Save this record



Endnote Basic


Research Therapy video screenshot

If you would like to get more acquainted with any of these tools, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube as well as courtesy of The University of Texas Libraries.

If you’d like some human interaction to go along with your citations, just ask a librarian.

– Anna Fidgeon


Two New Tutorials Are Here To Help with Finding Books

Hi matadors! We hope your semester is moving along wonderfully. Today we have two brand new video tutorials to debut. As your research may be well underway we present some basics of how to navigate through the library catalog. The ability to find books is a necessary skill for many of your research papers. First is How to find a Book, using the Library Catalog and OneSearch. The second is how to find books on Course Reserve. Hope they help you and good luck with your research!

Using the Library Catalog to find books

Searching Course Reserves to find books

~Jamie Johnson

Research Therapy: Types of Information Sources

It’s the beginning of the semester and most of your instructors have probably given you your research assignments. Maybe it’s a presentation, or a paper or an annotated bibliography? It’s time to begin searching for sources to support your research, but before you begin your search you should have an understanding of the different types of information sources that will be most useful for your research topic. Another valuable type of resource is government documents. They offer a lot of primary sources and secondary sources as well. Some examples include: • census data • congressional hearings and court transcripts • maps (current and historical) • patents, trademarks and copyrights • statistics regarding education, health, environment, transportation and more • consumer information and statistics Check out our online guides to government resources: general guide to Government Publications at the Oviatt Library and a list of all our Government Publication Subject Guides. Now that you know the different types of sources available to you, take another look at your research topic or question and decide which kind of source you need to support your research. To help you decide which sources would be best, think about the currency of your topic and the type of evidence you need to support your ideas. The following table is an example of different types of research and the appropriate sources.

Current events & trends
Newspapers, news websites, magazines
Case studies, ethnographic research, longitudinal studies
Scholarly journals & books
Statistics and legal documents
Government documents and websites
Topic overviews & definitions
Reference & books
In-depth analysis on a topic
Scholarly journals & books

– Laurie Borchard

Research Therapy: Finding an Article From a Citation Using OneSearch

Do citations look like this to you:

nonsense citation with random characters and wingdings

and somehow you are expected to find that article and read it before your next class? So you just copy and paste the whole thing into the library website and come up with nothing. Then, you start to wonder why your professor lied to you and said it was available at the library? You begin to question this whole college thing and reconsider running away with the circus.


Watch this video to learn where to go to break the citation code and how to find an article from a citation using the Oviatt’s electronic databases:

 article citation in onesearch research therapy video

 Putting a whole citation into OneSearch makes it sad. All it wants is the title of the article, which in many citation styles, comes before the title of the journal. You can use the rest of the citation as a reference to make sure the article you are accessing is exactly the article you were looking for in the first place, and not a similarly titled one.

APA citation

Be sure to bookmark some of these online resources for citation help:

Cite Your Sources: detailed guides for APA and MLA style citations along with help for other styles.

Research Therapy: Citing Your Sources: an explanation on why, when & how you should cite. Includes help on citing unusual resources, such as Twitter, blogs, maps and more.

Citation Managers: Comparison of Features: this guide from UW- Madison Libraries explains your options for citation managers that will help you organize and keep track of your sources as well as help you decipher the components.

Like always, librarians are here for you. Just ask.

– Anna Fidgeon

Research Therapy: Finding Book and Film Reviews Using Library Databases

A book or film review is a valuable tool for providing a brief summary, content description, and contemporary reactions.  Usually appearing shortly after a book is published or a film is released, reviews can be found in various magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals. The library has many databases that you can use to locate book or film reviews – Here are some of my favorites along with some search strategies specific for each database!

Search Strategy: Helpful Tips to Remember!

    • To find a review you will need to know the title, author, and year of publication.
    • It is important to remember that reviews generally appear near the date of publication up to several years after. Any later and you might be looking at a literary criticism.  Check the inside of the book or the library catalog for the publication date.
    • All of the recommended databases will allow you to specifically limit your search for book or film reviews. Make sure to check “Book Review”, “Review”, or “Entertainment Review” in the refine your search option area.
    • Make sure you are using a database that covers the year the book or film was published or released.
    • If you are having difficulties finding a review remember, of the thousands of books published each year only a small percentage are actually reviewed. It is possible that the book was not reviewed or you may have to search multiple databases to find a review.

For a more complete list of databases & coverage dates, use the following guide:
Using Library Databases to Find Book and Film Reviews

Also, view our new Research Therapy video for more tips and a tutorial on how to use some of these databases!

Good Luck with your research!

~Jamie Johnson

Research Therapy: Finding Fiction Books at the Library Is Easy

Need a break from academic reading and looking for some fun books?

Well you don’t have to go very far to check out the Oviatt Library’s fiction collection. We have a variety of fiction books to fulfill your reading needs. Watch the new Research Therapy video session to learn where you can find them!

fiction books video

In addition, here is a quick guide of the different locations you can find our fiction books:

Books on the Garden Floor of the Oviatt Library
For Young Adult and Children’s fiction visit the Teacher’s Curricular Center (TCC).
Books on the Main Floor of the Oviatt Library
Try looking in the Bestsellers Collection for popular fiction – just next to the reference desk.
Books on the Second Floor of the Oviatt Library
The Bob and Maureen Gohstand Leisure Reading Room located off the Tseng Gallery in the West Wing houses a variety of fiction literature.
Books on the Third Floor of the Oviatt Library
Try browsing the Language and Literature section. These fiction books will be shelved with other literature such as essays, drama, poetry and literary criticism. Generally speaking, English-language fiction can be found in the PR and PS sections on shelves. PR for English fiction and PS for American fiction.

 Please tell us what you think about our Research Therapy videos at our survey.

Thank you.

– Anna Fidgeon

  – Jamie Johnson

Research Therapy: Women’s Health Resources

The Oviatt Library has partnered with the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health for this special session of Research Therapy. For more information see ‘Cited at the Oviatt’ blog post 3/6/2013.

Surely you’ve been faced with a women’s health question that needs answering—either in your own life or for a project. Of course, you should ask your doctor if you have a particular ailment that needs attention, but sometimes you want to get some preliminary information online that is free of ads and written by trustworthy health care experts. Or maybe you want to write your final paper on the emotional impact of high school bullying on lesbians, but you know Googling “lesbian teenagers” is probably not going to get you the results you need for a school paper.

So where to start? Take a look at Women’s Health Resources—an online portal to women’s health and wellness information and research funded by the National Institutes of Health. This video will give you a tour:

Research Therapy

The information and research found on Women’s Health Resources comes from a number of valuable NIH and NLM collections. Learn more below about three in particular:, MedlinePlus, and PubMed.

medicine bottle

At, you can see the status of clinical trials as well as data from finished studies.

What is a clinical study?  A clinical study involves research using human volunteers (also called participants) that is intended to add to medical knowledge.  There are two main types of clinical studies: clinical trials and observational studies. includes both interventional and observational studies

Image courtesy CDC Public Health Image Library / Amanda Mills

Medline Plus image - Woman

MedlinePlus offers objective up-to-date health information in easy-to-understand language.  Get background information on diseases, conditions, wellness, drugs, treatments, and more.

Image courtesy CDC Public Health Image Library / Amanda Mills

Graham Stain

Pubmed is a collection of citations from biomedical research in journals, books and more.  Connect to CSUN resources (so you can read the full articles) by accessing Pubmed from the Oviatt Library website.
Image courtesy CDC Public Health Image Library / Dr. Libero Ajello

The Oviatt Library also has plenty of women’s health material for your research needs. We offer subject databases and resource guides in both Health Sciences and Gender and Women’s Studies.

If you are using Google or another search engine to find online resources on women’s health, make sure you check out our session of Research Therapy all about website evaluation. You wouldn’t ask just anyone on the street for health information, so don’t accept it from just anywhere on the internet!

Whether it’s for yourself, a research project, or “a friend”, if you need help finding health information or Women’s Health Resources, contact the following librarians:

Lynn Lampert:

Marcia Henry:

Anna Fidgeon:

– Anna Fidgeon

Please tell us what you think about our Research Therapy videos at our survey. Thank you.

Research Therapy: You Don’t Have to Come to the Library to Get a Library Book

You know you don’t have to come into the library to get your hands on some books, right? And if you’ve ever checked out a book from the library, only to find it doesn’t have any information you need, you should try looking at Google Books first.

The Oviatt has hundreds of e-books available, straight off of the website. Even if the book you want isn’t available electronically, you can still use Google Books to take a peek at the content. You might save yourself a trip! Watch this video to learn more:

ebooks video image

We want your feedback! What do you think of Research Therapy? What would you like to see in future episodes? Please, fill out our survey:

– Anna Fidgeon

Please tell us what you think about our Research Therapy videos at our survey. Thank you.

Need Help Using OneSearch?

Just in case you’re confused about our new search tool on the library’s homepage, we’ve created a short video showing you how it works and how you can narrow your results in order to get exactly what you need. We also have a OneSearch FAQ.

When you do a search your results are broken down into two different tabs, one is labeled Articles and one labeled Books & Media. The Articles tab are items that you would normally find in our online databases and the Books & Media tab are what you would find in our library catalog. The image below describes the types of resources found in both.

trouble with OneSearch Image
OneSearch is a powerful tool and we’re pretty excited about it. However, if you’re looking for specific types of resources you might want to check out our other discovery tools.

Just beginning your research?          OneSearch

Want different types of resources in various formats?           OneSearch

Looking for a textbook?          Course Reserves or Library Catalog

Looking for a specific article?          OneSearch

Books by a specific author?          Library Catalog

Is your topic a little complicated?          Find Articles by Subject

Are you looking for archival sources?          Special Collections and Archives FAD

Still not sure where to go?          Ask a Librarian

-Laurie Borchard

Research Therapy: Citing Your Sources

The sixth installment of Research Therapy gives you a brief overview of why you need to cite, when you should cite and how you should cite.

Do you have a research paper or project coming up and your instructor wants a specific number of sources? Knowing when and how to cite your sources can be a little confusing. The most important thing that you need to know is that you need to cite anything you use that doesn’t originate from you. Not only should you do this when you’re writing a paper or working on a research project, but also when creating a presentation or a website. You should cite tweets, blog posts, images, podcasts, and YouTube videos, basically anything you use that you did not create yourself.

citing image

Citation Styles
Different academic disciplines have different citation styles, it’s important that you know what style your instructor wants you to use. Here’s some examples of the different styles.

citation chart

Citing Special Resources?
Here’s a list of resources and guides for citing less common sources.
Government Documents
Business Resources : a comprehensive guide from Harvard Business School on citing various types of sources, including reports, interviews, and legal cases (just to name a few).
• This guide from Boise State gives examples of citing images, Twitter, Facebook, blog posts, maps, and videos.

Need More Help?
For additional help on creating citations using various styles check out Oviatt Library’s Citing Your Sources guide. For a quick how-to on creating an annotated bibliography, check out session three of the Research Therapy video series.
Still confused, about plagiarism? Check out this online tutorial created by UCLA students.

-Laurie Borchard

Please tell us what you think about our Research Therapy videos at our survey. Thank you.

Research Therapy: What is a Scholarly Article?

Have you ever wondered exactly what is a scholarly article? And how can you tell if an article you’ve found is scholarly? Watch the following short video and read the information below to answer these questions and more!

Why Can’t I Find Scholarly Sources on My Topic?
If you’re having trouble finding scholarly sources on your topic, you may be running into one of these problems:
Not enough time has passed: it takes time to conduct research, write the scholarly article, and then get it published. If your topic concerns an event that happened recently (in the last year for example), there may not be anything scholarly published on it yet. The Fix: find scholarly articles on broader themes related to your topic. For example, if you wanted to write about the 2012 presidential election, you could find scholarly articles on past presidential elections dealing with aspects that relate to the current election.
Need to try another database: you may be looking in a database that doesn’t have many scholarly articles, or it may not have many articles from the subject area your topic falls in. The Fix: try using a subject-specific database or one of the other resources in the Finding Scholarly Articles section below.
The topic hasn’t been researched: since scholarly articles are the results of research being done by professors and other experts in the field, there may not be scholarly articles on your topic if someone hasn’t yet undertaken the research, found an angle of interest to the field, or found a measurable way to test it. The Fix: find scholarly articles on broader themes related to your topic. For example, if you need a scholarly article for your speech on how to tie a tie, you probably won’t find scholarly articles explaining how to tie a tie, but you may find articles on how men’s neckwear has evolved through history.
Can Books be Scholarly?
Usually when we talk about scholarly sources, we’re talking about scholarly articles. However, books can be scholarly as well. One factor to look at for books is the publisher. Books from university presses (such as University of California Press or Harvard University Press) are more likely to be scholarly, but you should also check that there are references cited in the text and listed at the end and that the language of the book is scholarly.
Is It Peer-Reviewed?
Many scholarly articles are peer-reviewed, which is when the journal’s editor has other researchers in the field review the article before it is published. They evaluate the content and procedures used and recommend whether the article should be published as is, revised, or rejected. Peer-reviewed journals are also known as refereed journals.
To check if the article is peer-reviewed, you can
• Check the About or Focus/Scope section of the journal’s webpage. Many journals will say if they are peer-reviewed on these pages.
• Look the journal up in Ulrich’s to see if it is peer-reviewed. For more information on how to do this, watch the Is This Journal Peer Reviewed? tutorial.
Finding Scholarly Articles
To find scholarly articles, try:
JSTOR or Project Muse, which consist entirely of articles from scholarly journals. JSTOR covers most disciplines while Project Muse focuses on humanities, arts, and social sciences.
• Selecting the Scholarly or Peer Reviewed check box available in many general and subject-specific databases, such as General OneFile or PsycInfo.
• Using Google Scholar instead of Google. You can set up Google Scholar so you can access CSUN resources from off campus.

– Danielle Skaggs

Please tell us what you think about our Research Therapy videos at our survey. Thank you.

Research Therapy: Be a Search Boss

We admit it. Searching a library catalog or database is not always as straightforward as Google. And sometimes, searching Google is frustrating because you get so many questionable results. So how can you find that really great article for your paper? This video will show you some tactics to help get you on your way to being a Super Searcher!

I’m finding too much! I can’t find enough!
If you are overloaded or underloaded with search results, you might want to rethink your search strategy by brainstorming broader or narrower concepts. For example, if your topic for a 5-page paper is gay rights, do you think you could cover everything ever about gay rights in so few pages? If so, you should give me some writing lessons.

searchstrategy gay marriage
Most likely, with a topic as broad as gay rights, you probably want to focus on something a little more narrow under the umbrella of gay rights, such as gay marriage. If you still feel like there’s still too much on your topic to cover, you might focus in even more. For example, you could specifically look at Prop 8.

Question your assignment
One way to think about your topic is to form it into a question you can answer with your research. This can also help you focus your topic. Here are some examples:

searchstrategy  ask yourself

It might seem frustrating when you have to keep adjusting your search, but that’s exactly what research is, it’s re-searching until you find what you’re looking for. If you feel really stuck, be sure to Ask A Librarian for help.

– Anna Fidgeon

Please tell us what you think about our Research Therapy videos at our survey. Thank you.

Research Therapy Takes on the Annotated Bibliography

It’s that time of the semester – papers and other types of research are being assigned. Today we explore a research assignment you might not be familiar with: the annotated bibliography.

Annotations – More Information
Need a little more guidance on what to include in your annotation? The following table provides examples of descriptive and evaluative information you can include in your annotation. You can include both types of information in your annotation.

annotated bib chart

The Oviatt Library also has full sample annotated bibliographies (MLA or APA) and citation guides (MLA or APA) available to help you. We also carry the Chicago Manual of Style Online.

-Danielle Skaggs

Please tell us what you think about our Research Therapy videos at our survey. Thank you.

Welcome Back to Research Therapy!

So you’re going to cite a website in that paper? If you want to impress your professors with a great bibliography, you need to to evaluate your sources carefully. Watch this short video and read below to learn what you should know about researching using the web.

What qualities should your web source have?
As a scholar-in-training, you are learning to decipher good information from the lousy in order to have an informed understanding of a topic. If you’re going to use a web source for your project, it should have these qualities:
Authoritative- the information comes from a qualified source
Unbiased– the information is balanced and shows both sides in a non-persuasive manner
Current– the information is up-to-date for your particular topic
Accurate– the information reported is verifiable and opinions are distinct from fact
Ask yourself these questions to determine if your source is right for your needs:

But what about domains?
Let’s take a look at what common domains mean, and why you might want look beyond where it was registered to determine if the information you’re getting suits your research needs.
Now that you’re equipped to evaluate the website you want to use, you can handle these issues. Know who is posting this information online and why. Make sure you’re getting your information from experts. Provide a balanced view of your topic. And, be sure you’re capable of understanding and synthesizing the information. It takes time to learn this stuff! Be a little skeptical and you’re already on your way.
Still don’t get it? You can always Ask A Librarian for help.

– Anna Fidgeon

 Please tell us what you think about our Research Therapy videos at our survey. Thank you.

Introducing New Video Series: Research Therapy

Welcome Matadors! The Oviatt Library would like to introduce our new Fall video series Research Therapy. Every couple of weeks we will release a short 2-3 minute instructional video. The purpose of these videos is to provide you with tips and tricks that we think you might find helpful throughout the semester. Some of the topics include: how to find books, evaluating websites, using Google Scholar and citing your sources. The first video in this series is “How to Find Books on the Shelf.” We realize that our Library is pretty large and it can be confusing for new users. The focus of this video is how to take the call number of the book and find it on the shelf.  For more videos and tutorials please visit our Tutorials and How-to’s page.

We hope you find this video helpful as you navigate through your first couple of weeks of the Fall semester.

How to Find a Book on the Shelf

-Laurie Borchard

 Please tell us what you think about our Research Therapy videos at our survey. Thank you.