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Basic Research and Writing: Library Resources

Some helpful tips for getting started with research and writing.

Where to Find Resources

What kind of information is published where, and where is it in the library?

  • Definitions (found in encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks) – found in library catalog because they’re books.
  • News & general summary information (found in newspaper and news-magazine articles) – articles are located with index databases. Some full-text news articles can be found in Academic Search Complete and Lexis-Nexis Academic.
  • Scholarly analysis (found in books and journal articles) – Books are found in library catalog; Articles (some full-text) are found in databases such as JSTOR which a is scholarly full-text journal article database; Print Journals are listed in the library catalog.
  • Articles about specific subjects (found in journals on/about specific subject) use “Databases by Subject” for the best databases for each area of study.
  • History of a given topic (found in journal articles and books) – Books are found in library catalog; Articles (some full-text) are found in databases such as JSTOR which a is scholarly full-text journal article database; Print Journals are listed in the library catalog.
  • Special-interest approaches to a given topic (found in magazines, organizational newsletters, web-sites).
  • Opinions (found in newspaper and magazine editorials, books, and web sites published by special-interest groups).  

Things to Keep in Mind:

Journals vs. Magazines
    Journals

  1. Are published to disseminate information; very subject specific
  2. Usually published monthly or quarterly
  3. Articles are footnoted and have bibliographies
  4. Examples: Journal of the American Medical Association, Childhood Education

    Magazines

  1. Are published primarily to make a profit for the publisher
  2. Usually published weekly or monthly
  3. Rarely contain footnotes or bibliographies
  4. Examples: Time, Sports Illustrated, Readers Digest

Web Sites

  1. Who is the author?
  2. Is the site scholarly in nature?
  3. Is it about your research topic? Or did the search engine just find it because of keywords?
  4. Do you know the meaning of .gov, .edu, .org, .com?