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Information for English W231
You can use the databases listed (and linked) below to find journal, newspaper, and magazine articles on your topic by using keyword and subject searches. If the full text of the article is not available in the database, don't forget to try the "Find It" button.
|If your topic relates to:||Try these databases:|
good starting places for all topics
health and medical issues
Education-related topics such as...
|social or political issues||Social Services Abstracts (CSA) |
Newspaper Source (EBSCOhost)
See also Social Work Resources
(also see education-related databases above)
Don't limit yourself to one database or you will miss articles in other journals. Explore and experiment, mix and match! More tips can be found here.
Before you start entering any search terms, spend a few minutes trying to think of as many relevant terms and combinations of terms as you can. This will help you to avoid getting stuck in a rut with the first terms that come to mind.
If you need help in coming up with terms, you may want to try the "Thesaurus" or "Subject Headings" features in the database you've chosen.
Check out the "Help" or "Search Tips" to learn some of the search features specific to that database. Most databases provide similar features, but the methods may vary. Some common tricks:
- truncation = To use truncation, enter the root of a search term and replace the ending with an * (asterisk). For example, type comput* to find the words computer or computing.
- searching a phrase = Typically, when a phrase is enclosed by double quotations marks, the exact phrase is searched. For example, "employee retention" searches for the two words as a phrase.
- Boolean terms (AND, OR, NOT)=
- AND combines search terms so that each search result contains all of the terms. For example, travel and Europe finds articles that contain both travel and Europe.
- OR combines search terms so that each search result contains at least one of the terms. For example, college or university finds results that contain either college or university.
- NOT excludes terms so that each search result does not contain any of the terms that follow it. For example, television not cable finds results that contain television but not cable.
Try the databases' Advanced Search feature, which usually gives you the ability to search multiple fields (author, title, keyword, subject, etc) with one search and may offer additional ways to expand or limit your search.
How can you tell the difference between and scholarly journals and popular magazines? The table shown below lists some differences between scholarly and popular sources.
|Long articles; in-depth coverage of research/study||Short articles summarizing research/issues|
|Geared to scholars, researchers, professionals||Geared to the general public|
|Articles include many bibliographical references||Few, if any, bibliographical references|
|Few ads; few photos unless related to research||Many ads and photos|
|Often issued quarterly||Usually issued weekly or monthly or daily (newspapers)|
|Often sponsored by academic/professional group|
Who is the author?
- First of all, the author should be identified. The author can be one or more people or organizations.
Is the author credible?
- At a minimum, in order to be considered credible, the author of the information source should have credentials and expertise, such as academic degrees and experience, relevant to the topic.
Has this information source been reviewed by experts in the field?
- Even authors with credentials and expertise in a field may be biased or may have made a mistake in their research or writing. The most credible information sources are those that have been reviewed and accepted by a group of experts in the field.
Who published this information?
- The organization(s) that published and/or sponsored the information source should be identified.
Why was this information published?
- The most credible information sources are those that have been published in order to present balanced, unbiased coverage of a topic or at least to present both sides of an issue.
- The least credible sources are those that have been published in order to promote a certain point of view.
- Check the publication for information about the organization(s) that published/sponsored the information source. This can usually be found in the front or back of a printed book or journal, or in the "About Us" or "Mission" section of a web site. You may need to look a little further to determine whether or not the organization has a hidden agenda or bias.
Is the content of the information source relevant for your project or paper?
- It should cover the specific aspects of your topic.
- It should be up-to-date, if timeliness is critical for your topic. (Check the publication date or, for web sites, the date of the last update.)
- It should be well thought out, well presented, and well supported with credible sources.
- It should be unbiased. (A bias can be obvious or subtle. It can be hard to perceive a bias if you tend to agree with the arguments presented. If you are uncertain, check with an expert in the field, such as your professor.)
For more information, see:
- Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask - Guide to evaluating web pages from the University of California at Berkeley
- American University Library Information Literacy Tutorial on Evaluating Information - Detailed explanations of what to look for when evaluating information sources
- Humboldt University Library's General Criteria for Evaluating Information for all kinds of sources and Evaluating Webpages: Trash and Treasure for information specific to web sites
Many of the library's databases allow you to save or email an APA citation for an article.
Look for the following buttons or links:
Depending on which database you are in, you can selecting the "Citation Tools" link to save the citation in APA format or click on the "Cite this article" icon to get citations from several different style guides. Make sure you select the appropriate style for your citations. For W231, that will be APA style. When you get the citation, it may look like one of the following examples:
Tips for Managing Volunteers With Disabilities. Sept 14, 2006 v18 i23 pNAChronicle of Philanthropy, 18, 23. p.NA. Retrieved March 25, 2009, from Academic OneFile via Gale:
Karl, K., Peluchette, J., & Hall, L. (2008, August). Give Them Something to Smile About: A Marketing Strategy for Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 20(1), 71-96. Retrieved March 25, 2009, doi:10.1080/10495140802165360
Warning: Don't just copy and paste these citations into your paper! The library's databases are good at getting the right pieces of information in the right places for these citations, but they are not perfect. You will need to make some modifications to these to ensure they follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Pay particular attention to capitalization and punctuation.
If you need to construct a citation from scratch, make sure that you look for a permanent or persistent link to an article. When searching a database, the link displayed at the top of your browser window is often a temporary link, which will not work at a later time and should not be the one you use in your citation or reference list.
If you have any questions, comments, or would like research help, please contact Bronwen Maxson, Humanities Librarian.
Last updated by andjsmit on 08/19/2014