E-LEARN: Determining Scope


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An important step in successful research is identifying the preferred format (citations, abstracts, full text) of the search results. The information you need will determine which resources you will use to find it.

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E-LEARN: Determining Scope

  1. 1. Determining ScopeThe next step in a successful researchprocess involves identifying the preferredformat (citations, abstracts, full text) of thesearch results.Since the information you are looking forwill determine what resource you willuse, you must consider the scope of yourinformation and determine which toolsencompass that scope.
  2. 2. There are four components of Scope:• Type of materials indexed• Type of information provided• Subject coverage• Time frame
  3. 3. Type of materials indexed: What types ofmaterials are required?• The Library catalog includes access to books, government documents, periodical titles, and multimedia material. Which of these material types are needed for your particular research topic? If you are writing a paper related to current discoveries in the area of stem cell research, periodical literature would provide you with the most up-to-date information. Research related to NASA would require extensive use of government documents.
  4. 4. The Library catalog is just one example.When using any informationresource, consider whether or not thatresource provides coverage of the varietyof materials that you need.
  5. 5. Peer-Reviewed PeriodicalsPeriodical literature refers to publicationsthat have a new edition at regular intervalssuch as one week, one month, etc.Newspapers, magazines, and journals arecommon examples of periodicals.
  6. 6. Periodical articles are an important type ofmaterial to use because:• periodical articles tend to be very current.• the subject of a periodical article is often narrowly focused.• best of all, periodical articles are usually relatively short.
  7. 7. You are probably familiar with many popularperiodicals such as Time, NationalGeographic, Consumer Reports, and Wired.University professors will expect you to usemore scholarly periodicals that are specific tothe subject discipline you are writing about.Those scholarly periodicals are generallycalled "peer-reviewed," "refereed," orsometimes "scholarly."
  8. 8. Peer-reviewed refers to the process bywhich articles are selected for publicationin the journal. Peer-review, sometimesknown as refereed, means that otherexperts in the field being studied, besidesthe author, have reviewed and accepted orapproved the content of the article.
  9. 9. Most often such articles will begin with anabstract, or summary of the article, and anintroduction. This will likely be followed by some orall of the followings sections:• methods and materials (used in the study)• results (from the study), which often includes tables, charts, and graphs of data• a discussion of the results and their likely meaning• conclusions that may be drawn from the results of the study• future work that is planned or needs to be done
  10. 10. Learn more about peer-review in thisYouTube Video created by Evans Library, orin an encyclopedia in the library.
  11. 11. Type of Information: What is the desiredformat of information?When beginning yourresearch, bibliographic citations orabstracts might be the desired format ofinformation.
  12. 12. Citations contain the basic informationabout an item.Abstracts provide you with the basicinformation and a short summary.Another format option is full-text, whichmeans the complete article or book isavailable to you word for word.
  13. 13. Example - Bibliographic Citation:
  14. 14. Example - Abstract:
  15. 15. Subject coverage: What is your topic ofinterest?Some resources are better than others forcertain topics.The Humanities Index is where you would lookfor articles related to art, literature, orphilosophy.Chemical Abstracts would need to be consultedfor recent publications on Soybean Lipoxygenase.When selecting an information resource, readthe prefatory information or consult the Helpsection to find out if your topic is included.
  16. 16. Time frame: What is the required date rangefor your research?If you need literary criticism onShakespeare, then an index or database thatcontains only articles published within thelast two weeks might not provide enoughinformation.However, if you need information related tothe recent developments in cell stemresearch, the most current index or databasemay fulfill your research need.
  17. 17. Remember!You can only pull from an informationresource what it has to offer.