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INT 201 Blankenship

last modified Oct 14, 2016 03:38 PM

This guide contains information and sources to help you complete your research assignments. If you need any further help, please contact Amy Gratz (information at right), or ask a librarian

Tips

General Tips:

  • If you're unfamiliar with your topic, do a little searching on the internet, looking for keywords and phrases that are specific to your topic.
  • Brainstorm search terms with the other students in your class.
  • Try to find at least two or three more sources than you need and read all of them so you can pick the best sources to use for your assignment.
  • Speed up reading scholarly articles:

1. Read the abstract and introduction - between these two sections, you should get a good idea of what the author's main argument is

2. Look for section headers such as "results" "discussion" or "conclusion" - read these sections thoroughly. You may want to start with the conclusion first, and then work backwards to the other sections, if present.

3. Read through the rest of the article, including any tables or charts

4. Read the introduction and conclusion again

Remember that you can, and should, stop reading the article as soon as it seems too irrelevant! If you're really struggling to find enough useful information, though, you may want to jot down a few general impressions in case you need to come back to a source later.

Looking for the study or author referenced in Whatever it Takes:

  • If you’re looking for publications by a specific AUTHOR:
    • In Google Scholar:
      • Click the arrow at the end of the search bar to bring up advanced search options, and enter the author’s name into the appropriate box
      • In the results, look for full text links on the right side of the page – if you are on-campus, you may also see a “Find Full Text at Mercer” link
      • If the study is not available for free, double-check the JOURNAL TITLE in our library catalog (search here), then place an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request if needed
    • In Web of Science:
      • Change from “Basic Search” to “Author Search” and complete as much information as you can
      • In the result list, click the orange “Find Full Text” button to locate the actual study
      • If the study is not available, double-check the JOURNAL TITLE in our library catalog (search here), then place an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request if needed
  • If you’re looking for a specific STUDY:
    • Check the flow-chart I handed out in class! Start with Google Scholar for articles and WorldCat for books
Strategies

Pearl Growing

Once you find one useful source, there are several ways to use it as a jumping-off point to locate more potential sources. You can also start with a class reading, rather than a source you found yourself.

  1. Look through the reference list to find other potential sources – librarians can help you decipher citations if you need help. Keep in mind that this will only find sources older than the original.
  2. Look for other works that cite your original source - try Google Scholar and/or Web of Science to do so easily. This will let you find sources that are more recent than the original.
  3. Pull potential keywords/phrases from the text of the source. If you found it in a database, look for database-supplied subject terms. Plug all of these into new searches to find similar sources. This will let you find sources of any publication date, but keep in mind that terminology changes over time.
  4. Search for other works by the same author. This will locate sources of roughly the same age as the original, usually.
  5. Look at the other articles or chapters published in the same issue or book. Most books will have articles closely related to one another, and some journal issues are also organized around a specific theme, although this is less common.

Search Operators

It is important to put these words in all CAPS so the database recognizes them as a command.

AND - search for multiple words, and require that all the words appear. This narrows your list of results.

Boolean AND

OR - search for multiple words, and require only one of the words appear. This broadens your list of results

Boolean OR

NOT (sometimes AND NOT) - blocks certain words from your search. This narrows your list of results.

Boolean NOT

Phrase Searching

If you're looking for a specific phrase, it is helpful to put it in quotes. Otherwise the database searches for all of the words in the phrase, but doesn't pay attention to the proximity of one word to another. Remember to keep phrases short - the longer the phrase, the fewer search results you will get.

Quotes - Phrase Search

Searching

Recommended Library Resources:

Discovery - an EBSCO service allowing you to search multiple databases and the library catalog simultaneously. This service is made available to us through GALILEO, Georgia Library Learning Online, an initiative of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Other Databases included in Discovery, but worth searching separately for this class:

  • JSTOR  - provides access to complete back files of core journals in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. NOTE: JSTOR is primarily useful for locating older articles. 
  • Education Full Text - Topics include a wide range of contemporary education issues, including government funding, instructional media, multicultural education, religious education, student counseling, competency-based education, and information technology.

Web of Science - Provides detailed citations and abstracts for the top scholarly periodicals in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Covers both domestic and international journals, open access resources, books, patents, proceedings, and Web sites.

Education Journals - Covers not only the literature on primary, secondary, and higher education but also special education, home schooling, adult education, and hundreds of related topics.

Social Science (ProQuest) — Covers many topics including addiction studies, urban studies, family studies, and international relations.

Recommended Public Resources:

Google Scholar - Google's version of a library database. Click the arrow at the end of the search bar to bring up a few advanced search options. 

Georgia School Performance and Report Card - maintained by the State of Georgia's Office of Student Achievement, this website includes statistical data broken-down by county and/or school. The data reported here is intended to meet state and federal laws. You may also want to look through the Georgia Department of Education website or Georgia Government Publications.

U.S. Department of Education - the official website of the federal department of education, this resource also includes information at the state and local level. You may also want to check FDSYS, which allows you to access the official publications of the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

Macon Telegraph - Articles from the Macon Telegraph (the local newspaper) can be accessed in several locations, depending on time period:

  • Current articles: www.macon.com
  • Last three months: available at the Washington Memorial Library (1180 Washington Avenue).
  • 1994-Present: Macon Telegraph Archive Search - articles from the most recent month are available for free, but otherwise you should use this resource to locate useful articles, and then get the full text via the holdings at either our library, the Washington Memorial Library, or Inter-Library Loan.
  • 1860-Three Months Ago: available via microfilm at the Washington Memorial Library.
  • 1926-2001: available via microfilm in the Jack Tarver Library. Please ask a librarian for assistance. 
  • 1826-1908: available via the Georgia Historic Newspapers' Macon Telegraph Archive. You will need to install the DjVu plugin (it's free!) to use this resource. 

Think Tank Search - created by librarians at Harvard Kennedy School, this tool will allow you to search hundreds of think tank websites at one time. This page also includes a directory of US-based think tanks and think tanks around the world.

More Help

Search Strategies and Tips - More advanced search strategies.

Evaluating Information - a basic guide to evaluating sources. When looking at statistical data, you should check into who collected and/or reported the data. Most importantly, think about the data you find - does it make sense? Do the numbers seem off in any way? Try to verify facts whenever possible.

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - a general guide on this common writing assignment, including points to consider and example annotations.

Citing Sources - check out the appropriate style guide to format your citations.

Ask a Librarian - if you need help with ANY part of this assignment, please contact us!

Amy Gratz

Amy Gratz
Assistant Professor
Research Services Librarian

B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College 2006; M.S.L.I.S Syracuse University 2008

Phone: 478-301-5334
E-mail: gratz_ae@mercer.edu

 
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