Introduction to Finding and Evaluating Resources


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Introduction to Finding and Evaluating Resources for the ELLS academic writing course Lent 2010

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  • nanos gigantium humeris insidentes – standing on the shoulders of giants. Originally attributed to 12 th c Bernard of Chartres but made famous by Isaac Newton.
  • Introduction to Finding and Evaluating Resources

    1. 1. Introduction to finding and evaluating eresources Samantha Halford Librarian for Business & Management and Marketing & Enterprise
    2. 2. Part One: Why use the Library’s Online Resources? <ul><li>Authority : our journals use the peer review system so the research is checked by academics. </li></ul><ul><li>High Quality : we pay £1000s for you to access this commercially-valuable information. Much better than what you can find for free. </li></ul><ul><li>Scholarly Method : it’s what everyone who’s engaged in research does. You’re standing on the shoulders of giants. </li></ul><ul><li>Better Marks : your tutors will be impressed if you show that you can find and evaluate these resources properly. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Definitions <ul><li>Athens : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the gateway that lets you use our expensive, high-quality online resources from home, uni or anywhere else. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Athens is the name of the passwording system, not a database in itself. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Username and password is the same as for the computer network. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Journals : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contain articles that discuss current research in very specific areas . Articles have abstracts – descriptions to tell you what’s in them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short, academic ‘magazines’ that come out regularly. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organised by date, volume and issue number, even when the journal is online. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Databases : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Large collections of many journals containing many more articles. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different databases cover different subjects. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They all work slightly differently, but all will have a search box. </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Abstracts vs Full Text <ul><li>An abstract is a short description of the article, plus the details you’ll need to find it somewhere else (a citation). </li></ul><ul><li>Full Text is, literally, the whole text of the article, immediately accessible. </li></ul><ul><li>On most databases, you can choose to search for ‘ Full Text Only ’ – see the database’s help page to find out how. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Example Article (1/2) <ul><li>Pink highlighter: the abstract . </li></ul><ul><li>Blue highlighter: the information you need for your own references list. </li></ul><ul><li>Purple highlighter: the list of references used by the authors to write this article (83 items) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Example Article (2/2) <ul><li>Green highlighter: citations . Every time the authors use someone else’s work to help them write their paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Some sections are more green than others. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>pp.56-57, ‘Previous Research’ is full of green, because the authors are assessing previous research in the area (a literature review). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pp.59-65 have much less green, because they’re discussing their own ideas. However, whenever someone else’s previous work has helped them or informed their own ideas, they’ve included a reference to it. </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Part Two: Finding Resources <ul><li>Before you start looking... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have a rough idea of what you want to find out. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write down as many keywords as you can to help you find it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to include words with similar meanings or different spellings of the same word (e.g. Is it organi z ation or organi s ation?) </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Learning Resources Web Pages
    9. 9. Example One – Finding journal articles <ul><li>Business Source Complete – this a huge database for finding journal articles and other resources. </li></ul><ul><li>To use any of the resources, you’ll need to log in through Athens – ask at the Enquiry Desk if you don’t know how. </li></ul>
    10. 10. <ul><li>Business Source Complete </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>Concentrate on the search box. </li></ul>Enter your keywords (for instance, ‘viral marketing’), and click on ‘Search’.
    12. 12. Result page: Look at the number of results (circled in red) to see if you need to narrow them down.
    13. 13. <ul><li>Narrow your results : use the menus at the side to give you a more manageable number of results: </li></ul><ul><li>Clicking the ‘Full Text’ button means you’ll only see articles you can read straight away. </li></ul>
    14. 14. When you’ve found an article you like, click on the title so see more information, or click on ‘PDF Full Text’ to read, save or print the whole article.
    15. 15. <ul><li>Write your searches down as you’re going along so you remember what you’ve done. You’ll start to see new connections and get new ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t read the articles as you’re going along – skim the abstracts, save them and come back to them later so you don’t lose track. </li></ul><ul><li>If you see something that you don’t recognise, don’t panic: read the screen carefully and have a go at finding the answer. </li></ul>Expert Tips
    16. 16. Part Three: Evaluating Resources <ul><li>Evaluation is a critical thinking skill – you already know how to do it. </li></ul><ul><li>The best way to get good at it is to practice – that’s what your dissertation will help you do! </li></ul>
    17. 17. Definition From, accessed 16 th February 2010,
    18. 18. There are books to help: try... Judith Bell, Doing your research project 4 th ed., Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2005. Classmark: 370.78 BEL or read it online via the library catalogue ( )
    19. 19. Things to consider... <ul><li>Relevance – Does it help you with your topic? Is part of it useful but you don’t need to read all of it? </li></ul><ul><li>Authority – Who wrote it? How do they know? </li></ul><ul><li>Bias – everyone has bias. How does the author’s bias affect their work? Who did they write it for? </li></ul><ul><li>Currency – is it recent? Does that matter for you? </li></ul><ul><li>Availability - can you get hold of it easily? </li></ul>
    20. 20. Example 1 <ul><li>You want to know what the definition of Viral Marketing is. </li></ul><ul><li>Which is the best source to use? </li></ul><ul><li>The Wikipedia article, which was last updated 20 mins ago. </li></ul><ul><li>A journal article from 2009 that you found on Business Source Complete, but it only has two sentences that are relevant. </li></ul><ul><li>A blog entry all about it from 2005 that you found using Google. </li></ul><ul><li>Something else? </li></ul>
    21. 21. Example 2 <ul><li>You’ve been asked to evaluate current thinking about internet shopping . </li></ul><ul><li>Which is the best source to use? </li></ul><ul><li>A journal article from 2003 discussing consumer behaviour on the internet. </li></ul><ul><li>A newspaper article from the Guardian, December 2008, about online booksellers. </li></ul><ul><li>A newspaper article from the Sun, January 2010, about the effects of online shopping on young children. </li></ul><ul><li>Something else? </li></ul>
    22. 22. Finding more resources and help: <ul><li>Use the Subject guide for Marketing – (or from the library homepage). </li></ul><ul><li>The Enquiry Desk in the Sheppard Library is open between 9am and 7:45pm weekdays, and 11am – 5pm on Saturdays. Or use the Web Help Desk: </li></ul>