Writing & Rhetoric Conventions: English 301 Library Resources & How to Use Them
Do you have a research project? No! Check your syllabus or talk to your instructor. Yes! Do you have a subject/ topic for your research project? Do you understand what the assignment requirements are? Yes! Take your subject and create your research statement/ question No! Check your syllabus or talk to your instructor. Perform background research Identify key concepts from your research statement/question Use these concepts to create lists of keywords. Use these keywords to search Books: Griffin Catalogue Articles: Library Databases Web
Evaluate your search results. Do Your sources support your research statement or answer your research question? No! Start the process over. Yes! Now you can start taking notes on your research and work on an outline for your paper. Take your subject and refine your research statement/ question Perform background research Identify key concepts from your research statement/question Use these concepts to create lists of keywords. Use these keywords to search Griffin Catalogue for Books, Library Database for Articles, and the Web
Dictionary of World History WSU Holland & Terrell Reference D9 .D53 2006
Dictionary of Sociology available online from WSU Libraries
Encyclop ædia Britannica available online from WSU Libraries
International Encyclopedia of Adolescence WSU Holland & Terrell Reference HQ796 .I58 2007v.1-2
Religion and the Law in America WSU Holland & Terrell Reference KF4783.A68 M47 2007
Encyclopedia of Beat Literature WSU Holland & Terrell Reference PS228.B6 E53 2007
Encyclopedia of Body Adornment WSU Holland & Terrell Reference GN419.15 . D46 2007
Hey Karenann, what about Wikipedia?
Personally, I think Wikipedia is fine if you want some background information for yourself. Would I use it as a source for a paper? No. Why not? Ask yourself this. Is the person who’s writing this entry in Wikipedia an expert in his or her field. If you can’t say yes to that question I wouldn’t use it in a paper.
When searching any catalogue or database enclose phrases in quotation marks.
Why? The default function in catalogues and databases is AND.
If you are looking for articles on vitamin c, and don’t put it in quotes, you get every record with vitamin and c. That doesn’t sound so bad until you find that article on Vitamin B12 by Jane C. Public, PhD.
Is this original information? An original source, written or published close to the time of the event, is a primary source. A secondary source analyzes, deconstructs, and comments on the primary source.
The State of the Union Address published in the newspaper the next day.
The Unibomber Manifesto published in the newspaper
Whenever possible, get the primary source that the secondary source is analyzing.
Is the information balanced and objective? Be an informed reader and know that there are publications out there have their own inherent biases-political or cultural, liberal or conservative.
Is this an authoritative source? Some publications carry more weight because they contain article written by scholars in the field, and are reviewed by scholars in the field (peer-reviewed).
A good indication the weight of a publication is how often is it cited?
Note, scholars disagree. Consider opposing viewpoints before accepting any scholar’s view blindly.
Is the information timely? With some topics, particularly those in medicine, you want the most current information possible. With other topics you want a balance between current and historical research