English 155: Professor Lace
Evaluating Web Sites
What to look for:
- Authority - Who is the author? What's his/her background, education,
experience? Would you trust the organizations they are affiliated
with? Can you find contact information? What is the domain name (eg .com, .edu, .org, .gov, .net)?
- Content & Coverage - What does it cover? Is it aimed at experts? Is the information relevant?
- Timeliness - When was it written? When was it last updated? Is the information still current?
- Accuracy - Can you check the information somewhere else? (Especially
important for things like Wikipedia!) Has someone else reviewed
the content? Does it include a list of works cited or other clues
to how the information was found?
- Objectivity - Does the site have a bias? Are there advertisements or links to
organizations that might be a clue? What does the domain name tell
you about objectivity?
Narrow or Broaden Your Search (Boolean Searching)
Use AND between terms to narrow your search
example: television and violence and children
Use OR and/or truncate (*, ?) words to broaden your search
example: children or youth or adolescents
example: child* (will find child, children, etc.)
Note: check online help for the correct truncation symbol
Popular and Scholarly Sources
- Authors are authorities in their
- Authors cite their sources in endnotes,
footnotes, or bibliographies.
- Individual issues have little or no
- Articles must go through a peer-review
or refeered process.
- Articles are usually reports on scholarly
- Illustrations usually take the form of
charts and graphs.
- Articles use jargon of the
Popular Magazines and Newspapers:
- Authors are magazine staff members or free lance writers.
- Authors often mention sources, but rarely formally cite them in
- Individual issues contain numerous advertisements.
- There is no peer-review process.
- Articles are meant to inform and entertain.
- Illustrations may be numerous and colorful.
- Language is geared to the general adult audience (no specialized
knowledge of jargon needed).
You can use these databases or any others listed on the database pages; this list is only a suggestion of places to start your research. If the full-text is not available for the article you want to see, click the button or the "Find Text" link to see if the full-text is available in another database.
Using Google Scholar
You can find items the Oviatt Library owns using Google Scholar's capabilities. To activate the capabilities for your browser, go to Scholar Preferences:
- In the box next to Library Links type "CSUN" and click Find Library.
- Check the box next to "CSU, Northridge (SFX Find It)"
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save Preferences button.
Select SFX: Additional Options or SFX: Find It for access to online full text, Oviatt Library holdings information, and Interlibrary Loan.
Citing Your Sources
The library website provides sample citations for MLA, APA, and other citation styles on the Citing Your Sources page.
Finding Books in the Library Catalog
Use the Catalog search box located in the center of the library's homepage to search for books. To search for books on your topic, use the default Keyword search option and enter your search terms in the For box.
If you have a specific book or author in mind, before you enter your search terms in the For box, change the Search type from Keyword to:
- Title - to look for a specific book.
- Author - to look for books by a specific author.
If you have questions as you do your research, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-677-6808. For help 24/7, go to Ask-A- Librarian.
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