Posted onOctober 31, 2012This page was generated by the Oviatt Library|Comments Off
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. For more information on determining whether a book is scholarly, read this guide to identifying scholarly books (especially section B). 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.
Posted onOctober 29, 2012This page was generated by the Oviatt Library|Comments Off
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.
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:
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.
Posted onOctober 9, 2012This page was generated by the Oviatt Library|Comments Off
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.
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.
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 “HowtoFind 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.