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INT 101 Smith

last modified Oct 03, 2016 10:13 AM

This guide contains information and sources to help you complete your research assignment. If you need any further help, please contact , or ask a librarian

Note that the resources below are by no means exhaustive! If you cannot find the information you need in the sources below, try to think of other interested parties who might keep track of the information you need. You may also want to check some of our other subject guides for more specific resources.

Source Types

Below are five types of sources, ranked in order of most to least highly valued in the context of academic research:

  1. Scholarly sources (aka Peer-Reviewed and Academic): Publications intended for researchers; the main purpose is usually informative. These publications are written by scholars and reviewed by other experts in the field prior to publication. This includes both books and journal articles, although journal articles are used more frequently in most disciplines.
  2. Government sources: Documents published by an official governing body for a variety of audiences, ranging from the general public to researchers. These sources are academically appropriate, but not technically scholarly since they are only sometimes written by scholars, and are not peer-reviewed. 
  3. "Trade" periodicals: Publications intended for a professional audience, generally aimed at helping them stay abreast of current trends and news pertinent to the field. Articles are generally written by magazine staff and contributing authors, who are usually professionals working in the field. 
  4. “Popular” sources: Publications intended for the general public; the main purpose is usually entertainment. Articles in these publications are usually written by paid journalists or columnists, and reviewed by an editor. 
  5. Websites and other publicly accessible information: Publications made available online, including pseudo-scholarly sources such as white papers and reports from think tanks. These publications are not generally considered appropriate to use as sources of information for academic publications, but can provide valuable background information on a topic. In some cases, they may also prove to be useful sources of data and statistics.

Evaluating Sources OverThink

In addition to knowing what type of source you have, there are several other criteria for deciding whether or not to use a source in your paper. Start with the C.R.A.P. test to do a basic evaluation:

Currency: is the information recent enough for your topic?
Relevancy: does the information relate to your topic, either directly or indirectly?
Authority: who wrote the information, and are they an authoritative source?
Purpose: what was the intent of the author when writing this information?

Once you have done a general overview of the source, you will need to do a more in-depth evaluation of the source information. At this point, you will need to do a close, critical reading of the source. Most importantly, you need to apply your own critical thinking skills: does the author's argument make sense? can you think of any counter-arguments or points they failed to consider?

Image "OverThink" by Lori Semprevio, 2010. Used under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license


Brainstorming Your Topic

Brainstorming image. Original from "Brainstorms at INDEX: Views" by Jacob Botter, 2005. Used under the CC BY 2.0 License.)

When you first start working on an assignment, it can be very helpful to spend a few minutes thinking about your topic and where you want to go with the assignment. For some topics, you might need to start by doing pre-research, where you look for general background information on your topic to learn a little more. This background information then helps you focus your search and choose a topic to write about. Try some of the following strategies if you're not sure where to start:

  • Try to imagine what words someone answering your research question might use
  • Look up synonyms and related topics or phrases
  • Try working with a partner – getting a different perspective is often invaluable
  • Identify any common misunderstandings or related topics that you DON’T want in your results

For several of your topics, you should also look up what terminology was being used in the 1950's. Remember that some terms, like "energy efficiency" didn't really exist back then, and some terms that were perfectly acceptable then are no longer used today, such as "mental retardation."

Once you have some search terms to start with, there are several ways you can combine them to be more effective. For some of the resources I recommend for this assignment, it is essential that you know how to do research, because these databases expect you to know what you're doing.

Boolean Operators: AND, OR, NOT

Use Boolean Operators to combine your keywords into a more effective search, as indicated below. It is important to remember to put these operators in all caps, so the database knows that it is a command.

AND searches for multiple words and requires that all the words appear. This narrows your list of results.

OR searches for multiple words, and requires only one of the words appear. This broadens your list of results. 

NOT blocks certain words from your search. This narrows your list of results.

Phrase Searching

When you're looking for a specific phrase or set of words, it is extremely helpful to put those words in quotation marks. This tells the database that you only want results where those words appear exactly as typed, in that order. This narrows your list of results.

Nested Searches

Nested searching is a strategy where you group similar search terms together into a more complex search. This builds on the strategies above, and is essentially letting you conduct multiple searches at the same time.

Nested Seach

General Resources

Resources for All Topics:

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.

Research Library (ProQuest) — a general database providing access to scholarly journals and general magazines, many of which are available in full text. This database is not included in Discovery.

ProQuest Newspapers — Provides full-text access to several major national newspapers, including the New York Times. Coverage includes full-text articles but may not include advertisements, illustrations, or photographs.

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

  • Search for articles:
    • 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.
    • 1921-1991: Index to the Macon Telegraph & News, available in print on the main (2nd) floor of Tarver Library
  • Read full-text articles:
    • Current articles:
    • Last three months: available on the first floor of Tarver Library.
    • 1860-Three Months Ago: available via microfilm at the Washington Memorial Library.
    • 1926-2006: available via microfilm in the Jack Tarver Library. Please ask a librarian for assistance. 

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.

Environmental Resources

Science Citation Index Expanded (Web of Science, Thomson Reuters) — Covers bibliographic and citation information from over 6,650 of the world's leading scientific and technical journals across 150 disciplines.

Databases searchable via Discovery:

  • Environment Complete (EBSCO) - Offers coverage in the areas of agriculture, ecosystem ecology, energy, renewable energy sources, natural resources, marine & freshwater science, geography, pollution & waste management, environmental technology, environmental law, public policy, social impacts, urban planning, and more. The database also contains full text for more than 400 journals, including many of the most used journals in the discipline.
  • GreenFILE (EBSCO) - GreenFILE covers scholarly and general interest titles, as well as government documents and reports. The database contains nearly 300,000 records, full text for a few selected titles and searchable cited references for more than 200 titles. Topics covered include global climate change, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more.
  • AGRICOLA - Available in the familiar EBSCO interface, this database covers every major agricultural subject including agricultural engineering and marketing, animal breeding, entomology, environmental pollution, farm management, foods and feeds, pesticides, rural sociology, social sciences, veterinary medicine, and water resources. The citations consist of journal articles, book chapters, monographs, conference proceedings, serials, technical reports, and other materials on a broad range of agricultural topics. Useful for animal model selection when researching public health topics.
Psychiatry Resources

PsychiatryOnline (American Psychiatric Publishing) - PsychiatryOnline features the DSM Library (including DSM-V), The American Journal of Psychiatry, and a collection of psychiatric references, including books, journals, and self-assessment tools.

Psychology Journals (ProQuest) — Provides abstracts and indexing for more than 640 titles, with over 540 titles available in full text. Coverage ranges from behavioral, clinical, cognitive, developmental, experimental, industrial and social psychology, along with personality, psychobiology and psychometrics.

Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science, Thomson Reuters) — Covers bibliographic and citation information from 2,474 of the world's leading social sciences journals across 50 disciplines.

Databases searchable via Discovery:

  • PsycARTICLES (EBSCO) — Definitive source of searchable full text articles on current issues in psychology.
  • Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection (EBSCO) — With more than 470 full-text journals, this collection covers topics in emotional and behavioral characteristics, psychiatry & psychology, mental processes, anthropology, and observational and experimental methods.
  • PsycINFO (EBSCO) — Contains citations and summaries of journal articles, book chapters, books, and technical reports, as well as citations to dissertations, in the field of psychology and psychological aspects of related disciplines. Journal coverage includes international material selected from more than 1,700 periodicals from nearly 50 countries.
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