Reading about your topic in encyclopedias and other reference books is a good way to prepare for searching our catalogs and article databases for academic sources. These books can help you understand your topic better and identify keywords for your searches.
Click on the image below to see a larger interactive version of the campus library map.
Before you can access UCB Library resources from off campus or via your laptop or other mobile devices, make sure you have configured your machine using one of two simple methods (Proxy Server is the quickest and easiest):
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID when you click on the link to a licensed resource. See the setup instructions, FAQ, and Troubleshooting pages to configure your browser. Make sure you check the proxy configuration before you start researching.
The Library Prize for Undergraduate Research recognizes excellence in undergraduate research projects that show evidence of significant inquiry using the library, its resources, and collections and learning about the research and information-gathering process itself. Win $1000 (upper division students) or $750 (lower division students) for your research paper!
Use OskiCat to search the UC Berkeley Libraries for materials related to your topic, including books, e-books, government publications, and audio and video recordings. OskiCat will show you the location and availability of the items that we own.
Use Melvyl to locate materials related to your topic located at other campuses in the UC system. Melvyl also allows you to expand your search to libraries worldwide. After you conduct a search, check the Books option under Formats in the left column to limit your results to books.
Find a book owned by another UC campus? Clicking on the Request button in the detailed view of the Melvyl record will allow you to request the item through our Interlibrary Lending Services (if we do not own it).
Search the Catalogs
Search an article database to find citations (title, author, title of journal, date, page numbers) for articles on a particular topic. The Library gives you access to over 200 article databases covering different disciplines.
The two databases listed below are excellent starting points for your research. Geography is a very interdisciplinary subject, however, so you might also need to try databases focusing on related disclipines. Check our Article Databases by Subject list to choose Recommended databases in appropriate subjects.
Once you've searched an index to find articles, you may need to use UC-eLinks to link to a PDF or html file if the full text is not immediately available. Each database is a bit different, but a good rule of thumb is this: when you see the UC-eLinks icon, click on it to view your article access options, which can range from full text to a call number to an Interlibrary Loan request:
For more information, here's a tutorial on using UC-eLinks.
Think about your keywords, and their synonyms and variations, before constructing your search. Since different authors might use different terms for the same concept, searching with synonyms helps you find more articles related to your topic. Take advantage of database search techniques to find the most relevant articles for your research. Here's an example:
(global warming or climate change) and (agricultur* or farm*)
What search techniques are being used in this example?
Here are two images from the Library Workshop 101 tutorial on Basic Search that further explain these concepts:
For a fuller explanation of these, view the Basic Search tutorial.
|"Ethics, copyright laws, and courtesy to readers require authors to identify the sources of direct quotations and of any facts or opinions not generally known or easily checked."--|
Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press), p. 594
Why cite sources?
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, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit.
Citations allow readers to locate and further explore the sources you consulted, show the depth and scope of your research, and give credit to authors for their ideas. Citations provide evidence for your arguments and add credibility to your work by demonstrating that you have sought out and considered a variety of resources. In written academic work, citing sources is standard practice and shows that you are responding to this person, agreeing with that person, and adding something of your own. Think of documenting your sources as providing a trail for your reader to follow to see the research you performed and discover what led you to your original contribution.Read more
Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics (examples of research topics).
Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)
This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.
Unsure how to start a paper or research project? Think maybe you could stand to brush up on search strategies?
If this sounds familiar, Library Workshop: Research 101 has you covered. This interactive tutorial explores six stages of the research process. You can view it from start to finish, or focus on specific sections as needed:
Starting strategies from choosing a topic to search keywords.
The publication timeline, scholarly v. popular sources, and differences in academic disciplines.
Search for books and other items in OskiCat, Cal's local library catalog.
Locate and access articles in library research databases.
Common techniques for constructing searches that yield useful results.
Specialized search strategies for targeting specific topics.
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