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Research skills in philosophy


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Introduction to the eresources available for research at the University of Cambridge

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Research skills in philosophy

  1. 1. Research Tools in Philosophy How to find resources for research
  2. 2. You might want to …  Find books and articles on a bibliography  Carry out a literature search for your dissertation  Manage the information you find
  3. 3. Your research sources: 1 Books: Newton (includes eBooks) Journals*: Newton ejournals@cambridge but you have to know (and search by) the journal title, not the journal article title Library Search is also now available:
  4. 4. Bibliographies A list of works relating to a given subject Oxford Bibliographies Online Lists of key readings with annotations
  5. 5. Finding Ebooks
  6. 6. OSO: ebooks  Searching by keyword  Advanced search  Sorting your search results OSO books are not currently searchable in the Library catalogue
  7. 7. E-journals A-Z
  8. 8. Your research sources: 2 • Journal articles • Book chapters • Conference papers • Festschriften contributions • Reports • Reviews Where can I find? Not in the library catalogue!
  9. 9. Types of Database  Citation Databases —They contain only bibliographic information, and sometimes an abstract of articles, but without the actual text of the article. The @cam – find full text may link to the whole article. E.g. Philosopher’s Index, Scopus etc.  Full-Text Databases – These databases contain the journal articles e.g. JSTOR
  10. 10. You might start from University Library webpage Philosophy Library webpage Library Search
  11. 11. Find your subject area
  12. 12. Explore your subject
  13. 13. A Brief look at Databases
  14. 14. Citation Databases  Philosophers’ Index- Covers over 550 journals in philosophy and related subjects, some monographs and some anthologies. Coverage 1940 –  PhilPapers – Free, access to over 200,000 articles. Monitors journal archives, personal pages.  Web of Knowledge- multidisciplinary coverage of over 10,000 journals in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Coverage 1975-  Scopus- Largest abstract & citation database for sciences/social sciences, indexing over 3000 arts and humanities journals. Coverage 2002-
  15. 15. FullText Databases  Jstor ( – Archive of some dating back to 1600s. Does not include journals from last 3-5 years.  Project Muse ( – 355 titles from over 70 publishers in arts, humanities and social sciences.
  16. 16. Search strategies  Good search strategies will save you time  Decide what you are searching for before you start. Know what your source covers  Be critical of the information you find
  17. 17. Thinking about your topic Bioethics = ethics OR morality OR behaviour = euthanasia OR cloning OR medical ethics OR eugenics …
  18. 18. Keywords Exercise Know what you want: Keyword searching 1. Choose one of these:  Can the death penalty be morally justified?  McDowell’s moral realism  A study of Pogge’s views on the morality of globalisation 2. Underline the key concepts. 3. Write down alternative term(s) for the key concepts. 4. Discuss what you have written with your neighbour
  19. 19. Keywords Exercise: Anwers  Can the death penalty be morally justified? death penalty, capital punishment, execution, lethal injection, ethic*, moral*, rights  McDowell’s s moral realism M?cdowell, moral*, antirealism, action, belief, value, ethic*, rights,  A study of Pogge’s views on the morality of globalisation Pogge, globali?ation, global justice, equality ethic* moral*
  20. 20. More effective searching  Filters e.g. date, source type, language etc.  Individual source: Specific journals or publications  Boolean operators: Using operators like AND to narrow, OR to widen, and NOT to include or exclude terms in your search. (see diagram above)  Quotation marks: Enclosing terms in quotation marks will find a phrase.  Wildcard/truncation: Finds the root of a word and various possible endings e.g. politi*, s?epticism. AND OR NOT
  21. 21. Searching the Philosopher’s Index  Navigating  Search options • Quick search • Search Limits • Advanced search • Saving search histories  Exporting records An interactive tutorial is available here: Remember to select the Philosopher’s Index from the database list.
  22. 22. Get the most out of Google Google Scholar ( Finds articles, theses, some books, abstracts etc.
  23. 23. Intute: Philosophy   All websites in Intute have been selected by a team of academics and subject specialists.  A tutorial for searching the internet for philosophy specific sites is available from
  24. 24. 4. Managing your information  EndNote Available on PWF PCs. EndNote Web is also freely available via Web of Knowledge.  Zotero ( Freely available if you use Firefox as your browser.  Mendeley ( Free download.  Delicious ( Save and tag URLs More information on reference management tools is available from
  25. 25. Plagiarism  Express ideas and arguments in your own words  See the University’s good academic practice and plagiarism website. For information on plagiarism:  See the Philosophy Faculty's guide to 'Presentation of extended essays and dissertations' for guidance referencing conventions used here.
  26. 26. Entertaining video on plagiarism from the University of Bergen Don’t forget about plagiarism!
  27. 27. Help and Guides  Online help (within databases)  Database guides 