Use journal articles to find in-depth information on a specific topic. They are usually more current than books. Articles from academic journals are often peer reviewed.
Databases let you search for articles on your topic and will tell you in which volume of which journal it's published.
Sometimes a database will actually have a copy of the article for you to view online. This is called full-text, and it's a beautiful thing.
Other databases just tell you where to find the article, but don't have a digital copy to give you.
Use a book:
Newspaper Articles generally:
Use reference books to:
Reference works are a good place to start, but typically should not be cited in your research. The only exception is when reference works contain primary and secondary sources (like collections of documents and essays).
Need to search a database? Watch this Boolean clip to learn how to combine search words and get the results you are looking for.
Adapted from the materials created by The University of Auckland Library, NZ. This video is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license.
When researching, we are like detectives trying to combine the right terms in the right place to find the information we need.
Search for information using the single most important term related to your topic. Use this type of search when looking for basic background information.
Search for information by combining key concepts using the words you have brainstormed. Each concept/word should be separated by the word "AND". Use this kind of search when looking for specific evidence related to your claim/thesis.
Getting Too Many Irrelevant Results?
Add more search terms.
Getting Too Few Relevant Results?
Change or remove some search terms.
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