Each database contains a unique aggregate of sources (though, a specific source may appear in several databases). Some databases contain scholarly articles, some magazine literature, some news. Some contain it all. Article databases often include more than articles (chapters in books, etc.)
A few more things you should know about article databases...
- results identify where articles were published (name of publication and any associated volume/issue/date info.) - results do not equal what UCB owns - sometimes results link to article content online - Use UC-eLinks feature when a full text option is not provided
Where is the article?
Many library databases incorporate the UC-eLinks feature. You use it when a result's text is not provided by the database searched. It checks the UC-wide collections to see if the source is available elsewhere...
Encyclopedias are often a good place to begin when you don't know much about a topic. They provide basic background information -- identify people, events, issues, etc., associated with a topic. Knowing this information will help you search for materials on that topic. Entries often have an associated bibliography that identifies related materials.
For online encyclopedias...
navigate to library electronic resources (reviewed in article databases & other electronic resources section of this tab)
then link to your chosen Subject and use the sidebar menu to access encyclopedias for that subject (many disciplines have linkable subject specific encyclopedias)
Alternatively, link to library electronic resources byType > Encyclopedias and almanacs to see all of these resources
This free encyclopedia is publicly editable and not a scholarly resource. Because anyone can write or add to an entry, the information may be innacurate or untrue. Through the very structure of its creation, it has dependability issues. Yet, it can still be a useful tool, if used wisely.
Like other encyclopedias, it can be helpful in obtaining topical background, and entries often list sources for further reading (which you can then see if UCB has in its collections). Use Wikipedia as a starting point for information you will verify in the course of your research via scholarlysources.
THE MOST CURRENT NEWS
Many newspaper websites make their current content available for free
Google News provides a search mechanism for isolating current news from identified news sources
derived from identified news sources its search robots crawled within last month
most result content is freely available
includes results from more than news sites -- blogs, satire sites, etc. These later types should be tagged as such in the search results
News databases are the easiest way to search for recent news
Content typically stretches from current to the last several decades (varies by resource)
Tips for "current" news: look for resources providing full text access to their article content.
Tips for finding older news: News microfilm is analog. It is not searchable like a database, and has no front end search engine. Additionally, many of these microfilmed newspapers do not have a printed index to help isolate when a topic appeared in their press. So...how do you find articles on a subject ? By knowing the approximate date of events researched and browsing the paper around those dates.
Hint: If you don't know the dates, use the index of a paper that does have one, as a first step. Once you know when an event was being reported, browse your paper around the same time period.Often major newspapers, like the New York Times, do have an index. And a few, like the New York Times, have a searchable database for locating articles published in their paper [suggested resource: Historical Newspapers (Proquest),access path = Library homepage > Electronic resources > By type> News databases].
Research is as credible as the work that goes into it! It's important to analyze the information you find, including where it comes from.
many General article databases contain news and magazine content in addition to scholarly materials
(see Choosing a resource tab for details on General article databases)
Peer review process
Your instructor may want you to use "peer reviewed" articles. Or you may be asked to find "academic," "scholarly," or "refereed" articles. What do these terms mean?
Let's start with the terms academic and scholarly, which are synonyms. An academic or scholarly journal is one intended for a specialized or expert audience. They exist to help scholars communicate their latest research and ideas to each other.
Most scholarly/academic journals are peer reviewed (also referred to as refereed). Before an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal, it's evaluated for quality and significance by several specialists (author's "peers") in the same field.
Magazines like Time or Scientific American, newspapers, (most) books, government documents, and websites are not peer-reviewed, though they may be thoroughly edited and fact-checked. Articles in scholarly journals (in printed format or online) usually are peer-reviewed.
Databases: many with mixed content will provide the option to limit to peer reviewed/refereed sources
- review available limits in the resource's advanced search mode - some databases separate results into different tabs based upon result type
Journal: look on the journal's website (or inside the front cover of a printed copy) for a description of the journal. Is it described as "peer-reviewed" or "refereed"?
- Try looking up the journal's title in ulrichsweb.com (an online database of information about magazines and journals). If it's a peer-reviewed source, a referee's jersey icon will be shown next to the title.
Properly citing sources is an important part of your research. It allows you to avoid plagiarism and highlights your engagement with related scholarship.
In a nutshell: "Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person's work, you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work...."
The above extract is taken from the Library's guide on citing sources. The guide gives an overview of this topic and links to formatting rules for the major citation styles.
This course guide is created as a teaching tool and designed to be read as a unit. Doing so will provide the context for selecting the "right" resource and the techniques for manipulating it -- knowledge and skills that will support immediate and future research needs.
The notes in this tab contain suggestions about how to proceed with research based on your assignment. These suggestions build upon, and presume familiarity with, the general concepts addressed in the other tabbed sections of this course guide.
A research trajectory
Decide text/topic you are interested in writing about -- at least preliminarily.
Review suggested resources section, below, and the tooldescriptions in the Resources tab.
Select a resource based on the kind of materials you are seeking to find.
For scholarly article/essay content, when selecting a resource, consider which disciplinary focus maps to your topic (meaning publications in that field are likely to be writing about it). Or...choose an interdisciplinary database.
Search selected resources to see what others have written on your topic, or what others are writing about that might suggest further topical focus.
Isolate promising database results to examine closely.
Good practice: as you go, note any information you may need if you end up citing your findings.
find books on your topic
find the periodicals (scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers) you've already identified as having articles on your topic
find encyclopedias to get background information
Article databases (by SUBJECT)
identify article and essay content on your topic
identify current research
identify research focused on an aspect of a topic
search for publications from a specific discipline
history, literature, film studies, womens studies, etc.
Article databases (GENERAL)
often have popular sources (magazine & news) as well scholarly