Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

Find & Select Resources


After you define your topic and collect some keywords/search terms, determine which resources to consult:

  • What information do you need?
  • Where will you search for that information?
  • What resources are required or not allowed for you assignment?
  • Record and manage the sources you look at as you go along. This will make it much easier to write your works cited list, later. Click on a source type below for more information:

    Books

    • Search for books in the Library Catalog or an eBooks database, such as EBSCO’s eBook Collection or eBook Academic Collection.
    • Books are available in print or electronic format.
    • Books can be found on any topic.
    • Books that cannot be found in UAHT Library or directly accessed through its databases may be ordered from another library through Interlibrary Loan.
    • Books provide general and specific or specialized information:
      • General information and facts include basic history, science, or any other topic. General history can be vague and provide a broad description instead of specific details.
      • Specific or specialized information are exact, precise facts or descriptions.
      • Libraries collect books that focus on specific and specialized topics that can be excellent resources for research projects. Libraries do not carry textbooks which are general, i.e., psychology, but have books about specific psychological disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, narcissism or schizophrenia.
    • Opposing Viewpoints and ProCon.org: Some books and sites are written from a particular perspective to support that perspective. Other books & sites are written from both sides of an issue so the whole issue can be seen more clearly.

      When researching a pro/con paper or researching an issue that is very polarized, look for information from multiple sides of the argument.

      The library collects a series of books that address all sides of a few controversial issues in each book. It is called Opposing Viewpoints. The ProCon.org site does the same thing.

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    Periodicals: Journals, Magazines, & Newspapers

    • Periodicals are published at regular intervals throughout the year.
    • A single periodical title has many issues; numerous issues are usually published each year. Each issue includes a volume number and/or an issue number to help distinguish one issue from another.
    • Periodicals are published in print and electronic format; some periodicals may only be available on format or the other.
    • Each issue contains articles written by different authors about different topics.
    • Search for articles with UAHT Library’s Databases A to Z list.

    Journal articles contain scholarly research, are written by experts & scholars who specialize in a particular field of study, usually focus on very specific topics, and usually contain original research studies, literature reviews, etc. Journal articles are usually peer-reviewed.

    Trade Publications are published by professional organizations for their members. Experts in that field write the articles and they cover the trends, strategies, and news about that profession. Trade publications are usually not peer-reviewed.

    Magazine articles contain general interest and news information. They are written by journalists for a general audience. Magazines provide good popular and general interest information. Magazine articles are not peer-reviewed.

    Newspaper articles contain up-to-date information about current events. Newspaper articles are written by journalists, and they are intended for a general audience. Use newspapers to find local information and current events.
    Newspaper articles are not peer-reviewed.

    How do I know if a journal is peer-reviewed?
    Peer review is a formal process in publishing in which experts in a field, who are part of a journal’s editorial board, evaluate and review an article before it is accepted for publication in a scholarly and academic journal.

    The best way to find out if a journal is peer-reviewed is to check the editorial policy of the journal itself – generally found in the front or back of the journal. If you are searching online, you can sometimes locate the publishing information about a journal by clicking on the journal name in a database.

    Articles in peer-reviewed journals usually look scholarly and academic; are lengthy; contain charts, graphs, and statistics; include in-text citations and a list of references; include the author’s credentials (their degrees and where they are affiliated).

    Databases provide many, different types of publications referred to and in full text in our databases. See the handout above for more information about differentiating between types of publications and the peer review process.

    Use this chart to differentiate between sources that are scholarly or popular.

    Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines

    More about Evaluating Resources

    Is it an Online Resource or a Web site?
    Online resources are available through library databases with login/password and Web sites are freely available to anyone on the World Wide Web.
    Libraries pay for access to databases.

    If you are allowed to use Web resources, use these criteria to evaluate a site’s credibility:

    • Authority: What are the author’s qualifications for writing on the subject?
    • Accuracy: How reliable and free from error is the information?
    • Objectivity: Is the information presented with a minimum of bias?
    • Currency: Is the information current, and can you tell when it was published?
    • Check the domain (.com, .edu, .gov, .org, etc.): Some domains are restricted to certain types of organizations while others may be bought or sold by anyone. .edu & .gov are limited to educational and government organizations. There are no limitations on .com & .org. Always be aware of who publishes the website and its content’s sources.

    Reference Books: Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, etc. are excellent for basic facts, background information and to familiarize yourself with a topic. They contain short, concise entries on a variety of topics. Reference books can help you define your search terms and give you ideas about other resources that you should search. Reference books are available in print and electronic format.

    Encyclopedias contain factual articles and brief overviews on a wide variety of subjects. Sometimes they provide competing points of view on topics but they are not written from a particular point of view.

    • General encyclopedias like Encyclopedia Britannica, contain short articles on a wide variety of topics.
    • Subject encyclopedias like Encyclopedia of Southern Culture or The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits , cover a specific subject area.

     
    Dictionaries provide definitions for words and terms.

    • General dictionaries include definitions of words used in a particular language.

    • Subject dictionaries define the terminology that is used in a particular profession or subject area.

     
    Almanacs are annual publications that list a set of current, general or specific, information about one or multiple subjects. They include information like weather forecasts, farmers’ planting dates, tide tables, and other tabular data. They are often arranged according to the calendar.

    Atlases are collections of maps. Sometimes, they include geopolitical, social, religious and economic statistics.

    Directorieslist individuals or organizations alphabetically or thematically with details such as names, addresses, and phone numbers.

    Handbooks are concise reference books that cover a particular subject, often in a portable ready-reference format.

    Manuals are books of instructions, especially for operating a machine or learning a particular subject.

    Primary vs. Secondary
    The distinction between a primary source and a secondary source is important because it is the distinction between an original source vs. a source that interprets other original sources.

    Primary Sources are original documents, original objects, first-hand accounts. Examples include speeches, diaries, letters, interviews, photographs, original literature, and autobiographies. Journal articles are considered primary sources when they report the findings of original research by the original researcher(s).

    Secondary Sources–Secondary sources are interpretations of primary sources. They are a step removed because someone else is interpreting, analyzing, and/or drawing conclusions from the original source. Examples include most books, journal articles that analyze previous research studies, literary criticisms, and encyclopedias.

    When in doubt about a source, ask a librarian or your instructor


    Source: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2017). How to spot fake news. Retrieved from
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