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Learn, Study, Discover

Is your Works Cited page puny?

by Ginger Williams on November 30, 2010 in Odum Library

I’m going to go over the ten tips you’ll need to know in order to find some reliable articles for your term paper.  We’re getting close to the finish line for Fall 2010, and I don’t want to waste any of your time.

Photo by Caro's Lines: http://www.flickr.com/photos/caroslines/3199807082/

  1. The library’s databases (Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, etc.) are designed for doing scholarly research. Google isn’t.  If you use the databases properly they will actually save you time.
  2. If you need to find articles for your paper, start at the articles tab.
  3. General databases are a good place to start because they have a little bit of everything (like the Palms!).  Give Academic Search Complete a try first.
  4. If the general database doesn’t have what you need, try a subject database.  These databases are focused on just one discipline (like a barbeque restaurant!).  Select a subject from the drop-down menu labeled “Articles by Subject”.  You’ll see the databases our librarians recommend under “Try these first!”.
  5. Whichever database you choose, don’t waste your time with a basic search.  Do an advanced search and break your topic into key concepts.  If you’re writing about childhood obesity, try searching for the terms children and obesity.
  6. Most databases don’t recognize natural language.  What does that mean?  Instead of searching for influence of high fructose corn syrup on childhood obesity rates in Mid-Atlantic states, you will need to break your idea down into keywords.  There is no right answer to which keywords will find everything you want, so be patient and keep trying.
  7. Most databases will let you limit your search in a variety of ways.  If you need to search for peer reviewed journals only, or if you can only use a certain date range (maybe nothing older than ten years), look for these limiters.
  8. If you want more information about the best way to search, try our guide: http://www.valdosta.edu/library/learn/booleans.shtml
  9. It isn’t too late to do a great job on your papers, but your deadlines are getting closer every minute.  You need to start writing as soon as possible to make sure we can help you get the information you need.
  10. Finally, research can be a messy and confusing process.  If you get stuck, ask a reference librarian for help.  That’s what we’re here for!

If you’re off campus, don’t forget to login to Anywhere Access with your BlazeVIEW username and password before you try to access our databases.

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