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

 

The Oviatt Celebrates Love My Library Week

Cart with books wrapped for Blind Date with a Book displayMatadors, this week the Oviatt Library is celebrating Love My Library Week! We will be offering several activities for you to take a break from your routine and to have some Library-related fun. Here is a list of events:

Tuesday through Friday: Social Media Blast! Tell us what you love about the Oviatt Library using #LoveMyOviatt or #HeartOviatt. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. On Snapchat show us with photos what you love about the Oviatt!

Tuesday through Friday: Blind Date with a Book – Stop by our “heartfelt” display in the Learning Commons and browse specially selected books that are wrapped up and waiting for you to take them home. You surely will be in for a surprise because there is no peeking!

Tuesday through Friday: Visit our graffiti board in the Learning Commons and tell us what you love about the Oviatt on the spot. All affirmative adjectives welcome!

Wednesday: Get tattooed! “I Love the Oviatt” temporary tattoos will be available in the Library lobby between 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Thursday: Make a Valentine for that special someone at our Valentine’s Arts & Crafts table. We will be in the lobby from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Coleen Martin

Enter the Raffle and Celebrate Black History!

Martin Luther King, Jr. in a crowdHello Matadors! This month the Oviatt Library is celebrating black history with many Black History Matters events. For starters, we invite you to enter the online black history daily question game and raffle. Each day this month, there will be a different question about African American history. Every time you answer the question correctly, you will be entered into a raffle for a $50 MataMoney gift card and a black history t-shirt.

Early in the month there will be a presentation by Dr. Josh Sides who will present L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present. His talk will focus on how South Central Los Angeles became the center of black Los Angeles during much of the twentieth century. There will also be an exhibit in the Library Exhibit Gallery. Historicizing & Contemporizing the Black Aesthetic will showcase media history, fashion, jewelry and artifacts curated by Dr. Theresa White & Dr. Cedric Hackett of the Department of Africana Studies.

Further into the month you won’t want to miss the performance by the talented CSUN Vocal ARTillery. You will be in for a treat as these young artists entertain and inform. Matadors will also have a chance to strengthen Wikipedia’s scope and content related to black history with our Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. Join us for an afternoon editing Wikipedia info – no experience necessary. Finally, we will celebrate the life and many achievements of Judge Loren Miller with Civil Rights Pioneer: A Symposium on Judge Loren Miller. Many more details about all of these events are available at the Oviatt’s Black History Matters webpage. We look forward to seeing you there!

Coleen Martin

Looking for Textbooks?

Welcome back to the Spring semester!

It’s the first week of classes and although all of your professors are expecting you to show up to the first day of classes with ALL of your textbooks, we know that’s not always the case. We also know how insanely expensive textbooks are. Don’t worry, stay calm, it will be OK, the Oviatt library can help!

This blog posts offers a list of resources that can help you find your textbooks. First, there is the library, all of our resources are free to you and there are several ways you can look for books. Second, there is the Matador bookstore, they will have all your required texts, including used books, electronic versions and even a rental program. There are also several online resources for comparing textbooks prices and renting your books. Check out the list below to learn more about how you can save money.

Library Resources

  • Course Reserves are course materials that have been set aside for your course to be checked out 2 or 4 hours at a time. Search course reserves from the library’s homepage. Check out the video below to learn more.
  • Search for current or older versions of your textbook for 2 week checkouts from the library catalog.

Purchase your textbooks

  • You can always check out the Matador Bookstore for all your textbooks.
  • DealOz compares prices against various booksellers, including Amazon, half.com, abe books, and more! This is not just for textbooks, you can search for any book.
  • ValoreBooks  is specifically for textbooks, including new, used, rentals, and alternative editions.
  • Did you know that you can buy international versions of textbooks at a discounted prices? As you search online you’ll noticed them labeled as “international” or “alternative” most of the time they are identical, sometimes paperback instead of hardcover and the ISBN might be different.

Rent your textbooks

  • Our own bookstore has a rental program, create an account & see what’s available at Follet Rentals.
  • CSU has partnered with various publishers to offer CSU students in digitial format at 60% or more off the hard copy version. Check out their Rent Digital resources.
  • BookByte-rent, buy or sell your textbooks
  • Book Renter

Good luck with your first day of classes and welcome to CSUN!

-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