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

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 Introduction to Finding and Evaluating Resources Presentation Transcript

  • Introduction to finding and evaluating eresources Samantha Halford Librarian for Business & Management and Marketing & Enterprise http://libguides.mdx.ac.uk/content.php?hs=a&pid=70479 s.halford@mdx.ac.uk
  • Part One: Why use the Library’s Online Resources?
    • Authority : our journals use the peer review system so the research is checked by academics.
    • High Quality : we pay £1000s for you to access this commercially-valuable information. Much better than what you can find for free.
    • Scholarly Method : it’s what everyone who’s engaged in research does. You’re standing on the shoulders of giants.
    • Better Marks : your tutors will be impressed if you show that you can find and evaluate these resources properly.
  • Definitions
    • Athens :
      • the gateway that lets you use our expensive, high-quality online resources from home, uni or anywhere else.
      • Athens is the name of the passwording system, not a database in itself.
      • Username and password is the same as for the computer network.
    • Journals :
      • Contain articles that discuss current research in very specific areas . Articles have abstracts – descriptions to tell you what’s in them.
      • Short, academic ‘magazines’ that come out regularly.
      • Organised by date, volume and issue number, even when the journal is online.
    • Databases :
      • Large collections of many journals containing many more articles.
      • Different databases cover different subjects.
      • They all work slightly differently, but all will have a search box.
  • Abstracts vs Full Text
    • An abstract is a short description of the article, plus the details you’ll need to find it somewhere else (a citation).
    • Full Text is, literally, the whole text of the article, immediately accessible.
    • On most databases, you can choose to search for ‘ Full Text Only ’ – see the database’s help page to find out how.
  • Example Article (1/2)
    • Pink highlighter: the abstract .
    • Blue highlighter: the information you need for your own references list.
    • Purple highlighter: the list of references used by the authors to write this article (83 items)
  • Example Article (2/2)
    • Green highlighter: citations . Every time the authors use someone else’s work to help them write their paper.
    • Some sections are more green than others.
      • pp.56-57, ‘Previous Research’ is full of green, because the authors are assessing previous research in the area (a literature review).
      • 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.
  • Part Two: Finding Resources
    • Before you start looking...
      • Have a rough idea of what you want to find out.
      • Write down as many keywords as you can to help you find it.
      • 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?)
  • Learning Resources Web Pages http://www.lr.mdx.ac.uk/
  • Example One – Finding journal articles
    • Business Source Complete – this a huge database for finding journal articles and other resources.
    • 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.
    • Business Source Complete
    • Concentrate on the search box.
    Enter your keywords (for instance, ‘viral marketing’), and click on ‘Search’.
  • Result page: Look at the number of results (circled in red) to see if you need to narrow them down.
    • Narrow your results : use the menus at the side to give you a more manageable number of results:
    • Clicking the ‘Full Text’ button means you’ll only see articles you can read straight away.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • If you see something that you don’t recognise, don’t panic: read the screen carefully and have a go at finding the answer.
    Expert Tips
  • Part Three: Evaluating Resources
    • Evaluation is a critical thinking skill – you already know how to do it.
    • The best way to get good at it is to practice – that’s what your dissertation will help you do!
  • Definition From Dictionary.com, accessed 16 th February 2010, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evaluate+
  • 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 ( http://library.mdx.ac.uk/ )
  • Things to consider...
    • Relevance – Does it help you with your topic? Is part of it useful but you don’t need to read all of it?
    • Authority – Who wrote it? How do they know?
    • Bias – everyone has bias. How does the author’s bias affect their work? Who did they write it for?
    • Currency – is it recent? Does that matter for you?
    • Availability - can you get hold of it easily?
  • Example 1
    • You want to know what the definition of Viral Marketing is.
    • Which is the best source to use?
    • The Wikipedia article, which was last updated 20 mins ago.
    • A journal article from 2009 that you found on Business Source Complete, but it only has two sentences that are relevant.
    • A blog entry all about it from 2005 that you found using Google.
    • Something else?
  • Example 2
    • You’ve been asked to evaluate current thinking about internet shopping .
    • Which is the best source to use?
    • A journal article from 2003 discussing consumer behaviour on the internet.
    • A newspaper article from the Guardian, December 2008, about online booksellers.
    • A newspaper article from the Sun, January 2010, about the effects of online shopping on young children.
    • Something else?
  • Finding more resources and help:
    • Use the Subject guide for Marketing – http://libguides.mdx.ac.uk/content.php?hs=a&pid=70479 (or from the library homepage).
    • 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: http://webhelpdesk.mdx.ac.uk/