What is your assignment prompt? What questions do you need to answer about the topic? Brainstorm for keywords and key phrases that express the major concepts or issues involved, including synonyms and related terms.
Examples: Topic Prompt and Keywords
Topic/Prompt: To what extent, if any, is the fast food industry responsible for American obesity?
Keywords and key phrases: fast food, obesity, Americans.
Keywords and key phrases for related issues: obesity epidemic, diet, nutrition, children, adults, fast food marketing, advertising, schools, television, "junk food," diabetes, heart disease, exercise, lawsuits, McDonald's.
Use combinations of keywords that represent the key concepts you are interested in. Remember to join your key words and key phrases together with and. It is often necessary to do several different searches to gather articles relevant to your topic.
Examples of Keyword Searches: fast food and obesity; fast food and lawsuits; obesity and children; schools and fast food; fast food and advertising and television
The following databases and sources contain many full-text articles from newspapers, magazines and journals. If the full-text is not available for the article you want to see, click the blue and red "Find Text" button or the "Find Text" link to see if the full-text is available in another database.
Start at the library's home page, http://library.csun.edu, and click "Find Articles and Research Data." Then click "General/Multi-subject" or "News & Current Issues" to access the databases above.
Once you find an article, it is important to critically evaluate it to see if you can use it for your research purposes. Listed below are things to think about when trying to determine the value of a particular article:
Popular Magazines and Newspapers:
Use the Catalog to search for books the library owns. You can search for books by author's name, title of the book, subject heading and keyword. A keyword search is generally recommended when search for books on a particular topic, if you don't have specific titles in mind. Learn how to use the catalog here: http://library.csun.edu/Research_Assistance/i-opac.html.
What to look for (for a more detailed version go to: http://library.csun.edu/Research_Assistance/eval.html )
Remember to always cite your sources! Citation style guides for APA and MLA can be found at: http://library.csun.edu/Find_Resources/e-books/estylegd.html.
Learn how to create an annotated bibliography: http://library.csun.edu/Research_Assistance/annotated.html.
As a CSUN student you can access most databases from off campus,
anywhere around the world. You just need to make sure you have your
PORTAL username and password. When you click on a database from off
campus, you'll see the following screen. When you've entered the ID and
password information, you'll be redirected to the database
Danielle Skaggs - firstname.lastname@example.org
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