B: Doing ResearchSince you now have a topic/thesis statement, let's begin by finding relevant resources. Oftentimes students will search Wikipedia and Google for resources and while some of those resources may yield good, valid information, why not take advantage of the library resources available to you? You can be assured the library's resources are credible and authoritative. Reserve those Wikipedia and Google searches to find out very, very general, PRELIMINARY information and don't depend solely on those two sources. Many professors will automatically discount those two sources.
B-1: More Resources
You already know where to find books and ebooks on the library's web site (Topic Selection and Basic Information). Now let's talk about where most of your research happens - databases. Databases refer to journal articles in electronic format provided by the library. Databases are accessed from the library's web site (http://library.wvstateu.edu) by clicking on the word "Database" located on the left side of the webpage. You will see an alphabetical listing (names of databases are in red). Clicking on the name of the database will open the first search page.
IF YOU WANT TO SEARCH THE DATABASES OFF CAMPUS-CLICK on the database you want to search.
Most of the library databases are available off campus BUT A FEW ARE NOT.
TO ACCESS THE AVAILABLE DATABASES OFF CAMPUS , YOU NEED TO INPUT THE FOLLOWING:
DATABASE SEARCHING GUIDELINES
- Each database is different but listed below are some general guidelines when constructing your search:
- Search Construction:
Don't input an entire sentence or your thesis statement into a search box. This seems to confuse the database. Pick out the major words or general topic of your research. If your search doesn't yield any results, use related words or synonyms. For example, instead of gun control you might try firearm legislation.
WATCH YOUR SPELLING!! Databases are unforgiving when it comes to misspelled words.
- Full-text what is it and how can it help me?:
Most databases allow you to search for full text articles. Full text means the complete article. In other words, if you mark full text when constructing your search, you'll be able to read the complete article online. If you don't mark full text, you will get a combination of full text and abstract only articles. The abstract only articles provide just a summary or abstract of the article - not the complete or entire article.
- Scholarly (peer-reviewed) or popular articles and why does it matter?:
Oftentimes your teachers will require your resources to be scholarly or peer reviewed. These resources have been reviewed by peers who are experts in that particular field in order to check for valid, excellent research. See Looking for Articles in Journals and Magazines: Scholarly or Popular? for more in-depth information regarding scholarly (peer-reviewed) and popular articles.
- More help:
If you're having trouble, contact the library for additional help. Please click on the link for various ways to contact the library Ask a Librarian. Librarians are trained and more than happy to help with your research.