When you’re researching, you will use a variety of resources to find information. One of the primary resources you will use is the book. Many students struggle when using books for research because they are not familiar with the layout of books or they’re not quite sure how to look for information in books. We’ve already seen how to use Destiny to search for books. Now we’re going to go more in depth to learn how to search for specific topics in Destiny and in books.
You will need a piece of paper and something to write with for this assignment. Pretend you are writing a research paper about vampires, and your teacher tells you that you need to narrow your topic. Narrowing your topic means being more specific. On the other hand, broadening your topic means being less specific, more broad. For example, the topic of dogs is narrower than the topic of animals, and the topic of hunting dogs is even narrower a topic. Mammals is a broader topic then animals, dogs, or hunting dogs.
Now we’re going to narrow down the topic of “vampires.” On a piece of paper, tell whether each topic is broader or narrower than the topic of “vampires.” 1.) monsters 2.) origins of the vampire myth 3.) bloodsuckers 4.) the novel Dracula 5.) Vlad Dracul (a vampire’s name)
Let’s say we’ve narrowed down our topic to Vlad Dracul, a “real” vampire. Now let’s research to see if we can find any books about him. Open Destiny and do a search in the catalog for Vlad Dracul. Answer this question on a sheet of paper. 6.) What books did you find when you searched for “Vlad Dracul”?
You probably only found the book Vampire High by Douglas Rees. There’s only one problem with this book—it’s fiction. You generally don’t want to use a fictional book when doing research because it does not contain factual information. By doing a search on Destiny, you can see that we have no books about Vlad Dracul. At this point, most students would give up. But not you! Because I’m going to tell you what to do next. It’s true that this library has no books that are ONLY about Vlad Dracul. We have no books with that as the primary topic. However, we do have at least three books that include information about Vlad Dracul. We will have to do a broader search to find those books.
In Destiny, do a search for the word vampire . You will find 97 results! Most of these results are fiction and thus, not useful to you. Answer this question on a sheet of paper: 7.) How do you know by looking at a book in Destiny if it’s fiction? Also, you should be careful of books with the call number 741.5 because although they are located in the nonfiction section, they are actually fictional stories. They are located in the art section of the Dewey Decimal System because they contain art.
Answer this question on a sheet of paper: 8.) What are the titles of two books about vampires that are located in the nonfiction section? (Remember not to include those with the call number 741.5.) There are a few nonfiction books about vampires in the library, and we’re going to focus on three in particular. Look up the following books and write down their call numbers on a sheet of paper. 8.) Encyclopedia Horrifica by Joshua Gee 9.) Vampires: Do They Exist? By Gail Stewart 10.) Vampire History and Lore by Stuart Kallen
Now go find the books on the shelf. If you need help finding them, please ask the librarian for help. Now that you have the books, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to find information about Vlad Dracul in them. The index of a book is an alphabetical listing of topics contained in the back of the book. Many nonfiction books have an index; most fiction books do not. Start with the book Encyclopedia Horrifica , and look in the index for Vlad Dracul .
As you can see, there is no entry for Vlad Dracul. However, there is an entry for Vlad . Answer these questions on a sheet of paper: 11.) Instead of Vlad Dracul , what does the entry for Vlad say? 12.) What page is the information about Vlad located? Turn to that page, and we’ll learn a little about our friend Vlad. Answer on a sheet of paper: 13.) Vlad was the inspiration for what famous movie and novel character? 14.) Where was Vlad from? 15.) In the middle of what lake is Vlad’s tomb located?
Now that we’ve learned a little more about Vlad, we also have a few more names for him: Vlad Dracul, Vlad Dracula, and Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. Now, let’s look in the book Vampire History and Lore for more information about Vlad Dracul. Look in the index for information about Vlad (remember that you might have to look under different versions of Vlad’s name, as described at the top of this page.) Answer this question on a sheet of paper: 16.) The entry in the index does not say Vlad Dracul . What is the complete entry in the index for Vlad?
Notice that in the entry in the index, it gives you several page numbers to look for information about Vlad. The first page number, right after the heading, gives you information about Vlad. The four page numbers underneath the main entry give you illustrations of Vlad. Answer each question on a sheet of paper: 16.) On what page can you find information (text) about Vlad? 17.) On what pages can you find illustrations of Vlad? Turn to the page with information about Vlad, and we’ll learn a little more about the original vampire.
Read the information about Vlad and answer these questions on a sheet of paper: 18.) What does the red heading that begins the section about Vlad call him? (Vlad the …) 19.) What does the word “Dracula” mean? 20.) In what year did Vlad invade Transylvania? 21.) What horrible thing did Vlad do in Brasov as he was surrounded by dying people? 22.) In what year did Vlad die? Now, we’re going to look in the third book we’ve collected, Vampires: Do They Exist? Yet again, in the index you will find an entry about Vlad under a different name.
Use all of the names we have found for Vlad to find an entry for him in the index: Vlad Dracul, Vlad Dracula, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, Vlad the Impaler. In this case, you will have to look under Vlad’s last name, or his supposed last name. Answer this question a sheet of paper: 23.) Under what name do you find information about Vlad in the index? (If you cannot find an entry, ask the librarian for help.) As you can see, there are actually two entries for information about Vlad in the index.
Answer these questions on a sheet of paper: 24.) On what pages can you find information about Vlad? 25.) On what page can you find an illustration of Vlad? Now turn to the pages with information about Vlad, and we’ll learn a final bit of information about him. Answer these questions on a sheet of paper: 26.) What is someone who takes pleasure from the misery of others? 27.) What happened to the men who did not remove their fezzes when they approached Vlad? 28.) Who wrote the novel Dracula ?
You are now finished with the three books about vampires. Please return them to the librarian to be shelved. DO NOT SHELVE THEM YOURSELF!!! Now that you’ve learned how to use a book to do research, you’re going to do a little research on your own. Pretend you’re doing a biology research paper about narwhals, which are a type of whale (may be spelled narwhale). Look in Destiny for narwhal or narwhale. Answer this question on a sheet of paper. 29.) How many entries do you find when you look up narwhal (narwhale) in Destiny?
It looks like you’re going to have to broaden your topic. Answer this question on a sheet of paper: 30.) What is a broader word or phrase you can look up than narwhal? Look up that word or phrase in Destiny. You should find several entries. Write your answer on a sheet of paper: 31.) Record five nonfiction books we have in our library on your topic. (I found 11 nonfiction books.) Now, go to the shelf and find which books actually have information about narwhals (narwhales).
Answer this question on a sheet of paper: 32.) Where are you going to look in the book to find if there is any information about narwhals? 33.) Of the five books you wrote down, which ones have information about narwhals? (Note: I found at least 7 books that have information about narwhals.) If none of the books you wrote down has information about narwhals, keep looking in other books until you find at least one that has information about them.