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E 101: Library Orientation

This guide serves to collect the resources discussed and used in the E 101 Library Orientation class.

Research Help

When you have questions about your research, please don't hesitate to ask us for help!  That's why we're here.  The library staff can be reached in a variety of ways: in person at the library and by telephone, chat, and email.

Contact information for all library departments is listed here, or contact one of the Research Librarians below!

 

Research Methods

Know What You're Reading:

  • Scholarly articles are all peer reviewed. Peer review is the process by which experts in the field evaluate a manuscript submitted for publication and recommend its publication, revision, or rejection. This long process hopes to ensure that articles published in scholarly journals are all credible and original, for use by students and scholars.
  • Research articles provide methodology and results of research.
  • Review articles should not be confused with book or movie reviews.  Review articles summarize developments over time in a field of study and their bibliographies can be great for finding citations to important articles.

Ways to Search Within a Database:

  • Subject Searching
    • When you find a database record that meets your research criteria, look at the subject headings to see what controlled terms the database producers are using. Controlled vocabulary can be defined as the words and phrases selected by a database producer to classify the information in the database. Controlled vocabulary are also known as subject headings, descriptors, or thesaurus terms. Remember that some databases may call subject headings descriptors; however, identifiers are not controlled terms.
    • Often, databases will make their subject headings hot links that you can click on to search that heading. If you click on the link, chances are good that you will get more results than you can comfortably review. To narrow the results, combine subjects with other subjects or with keywords.
       
  • Field Searching
    • Fields comprise database records. Common fields are author, title, abstract, publication, and text. Limiting your search terms to specific fields, e.g., title and abstract, is a good way to increase your chances of finding relevant articles.  Databases vary in the way they want you to specify field information. It’s best to read the help section if you have a question about how to construct a field search.

Research Tips

  • Know Your Database: They're all different. To optimize results, learn their differences by referring to advanced searching instructions and help guides.
  • Finders, Keepers: Never forget to record a complete citation for each valuable source of information that you've taken the time to find - you don't want to have to track it down later. To make this easier, use a citation management tool.
  • Know When to Ask: It's ok to ask for help at ANY TIME during the course of your research. And sometimes, it really makes sense to capitalize on people as resources of information. Don't hesitate to consult with your professors or librarians, or even locate experts on your topic who are willing to give advice.
  • Follow The Source: Save time by following up on the sources cited in someone else's bibliography.
  • Never Settle  ...for the results in one database. Each database indexes different journals and no database provides exhaustive coverage of all journals in a subject area. For a thorough search, use as many databases as you can.

How to read a citation

Sample citation:

Silva, C., Ross, M., & Farias, T. (2009, July). Evaluation of energy consumption, emissions and cost of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Energy Conversion & Management, 50(7), 1635-1643.

How to break down the parts of the citation:

Authors = C. Silva, M. Ross, & T. Farias

Title of paper = Evaluation of energy consumption, emissions and cost of plug-in hybrid vehicles

Title of publication/journal = Energy Conversion & Management

Volume = 50

Issue = 7

Page numbers = 1635-1643

Date of publication = July 2009