The Berkeley library system is arranged by subject -- what materials are in which library, how they're shelved, the Library website, where to get help....
Most libraries names tell their story. Doe, Moffitt, and the Gardner Main Stacks (which connects them) share the broadest subject focus in the UCB library system. Because they are named after people, the focus is less immediately apparent.
Each article database contains a unique aggregate of sources (though, any source may appear in several different databases).
- some databases contain scholarly articles, some magazine literature, some news. Some contain it all. - 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 provide background that helps when searching for other materials: identify people, events, issues, etc. Entries may have an associated bibliography that identifies other materials related to a topic.
review information in electronic resources section, above
link to e-resources by Subject > then use left sidebar menu to link to (subject specific) encyclopedias
or...link to e-resources by Type > Encyclopedias and almanacs (to see all of them)
To find print encyclopedias use OskiCat (for tips of searching OskiCat, see Putting It All Together tab)
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 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.
Scholarly or Popular
Some research databases contain popular and scholarly content (articles from magazines and newspapers in addition to scholarly journals).
You may want to limit results to scholarly content. If so, you can choose a resource that only includes it. Or, if using a database with mixed content, you can limit to the scholarly results (here's how).
If you want popular materials, many library databases tagged as General contain news and magazine articles (in addition of scholarly materials). See Choosing a Resource tab for information on database access.
If you want news coverage, you can view the available resources by type, to get a listing of news databases.See Choosing a Resource tab for information on database access.
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.
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:
help developing search strategies (for humanities and social sciences topics)
Schedule (view/edit) an appointment online [CalNetID required]
How to use this tab
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 the putting it all together 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
Choose a topic. Your readings will likely suggest areas of interest.
Review the information in the Choosing a Resource tab.Make sure you understand how the identified resources differ in the types of information and/or materials they provide.
Review suggested resources section of this tab.
Choose a resource whose content matches the kind of materials you are seeking to find and whose disciplinary focus maps to your topic (i.e. publications in that field are likely to be writing about it).
Or... choose a General (interdisciplinary) database.
Try one of the suggested resources, or choose one of your own based on its description and subject focus.
Search to see what's been written about your topic -- or what issues others are writing about in regards to your topic that might help you refine your focus.
see Tips section of this tab for help with searching
see Tips section for help with defining your topic
Examine promising results.
remember to note the information you'll need if you end up citing them
to find books on your topic
to find the periodicals (scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers) that you have already identified as having articles on your topic
to find encyclopedias and get background information
to identify article and essay content on your topic
to identify current research
to identify research focused on an aspect of a topic
to search publications from a specific discipline: gender & womens studies, history, sociology, film studies, etc.
...or try a GENERAL one..
they are interdisciplinary
often have popular sources as well as scholarly materials
Academic Search Complete
popular and scholarly content (good for popular culture topics)
some results available online
has UC-eLinks feature
strength is scholarly journal literature
Use UC-eLinks to get full text
Enable UC-eLinks to display (use Scholar Preferences > Library links)
full text resource
use advanced search mode (to narrow to specific discipline)
access via Library homepage > Electronic resources > By type> News Databases
review description: alternative or mainstream press, historical time period, geographical focus, etc.
Access World News
full text news database
over 600 U.S. and over 700 international sources
can search by geographical location
source list provides inventory of titles included and dates covered
full text resource
alternative, radical, and independent magazines, newspapers, and journals in North America
Encyclopedias (subject encyclopedias)
to find backgroundon topic | biographical information on practitioner in field
link via Library homepage > Electronic Resources > Subject > review sidebar menu to see if there is a link to encyclopedias for that subject area
How to develop a research question
defining a do-able topic(with examples - narrowing & broadening focus)
don't know much about it ?Try using an encyclopedia to get some background first.
stuck for ideas ?See what others are writing about. Search an article database for your discipline.
search 2 or 3 terms representing key concepts of your focus
there isn't a search that finds everything: try different combinations of terms, synonyms, related terms
look at the records of relevant results -- do their subjects suggest other search terms?
[important: subject terms are defined by the Library of Congress, and not always what you would expect. Examine relevant results to discover how your topic, time period, location, people, etc. are defined subject-wise. Once you know this, you can use that terminology to search for other materials.]
try adding terms for specific types of materials -- encyclopedias, biographies -- to your search, to locate those types of resources (see example, below)
sample keyword searches... hoarding obsessive-compulsive disorder compulsive behavior france and history and class elizabethan and society elizabethan* and custom* kubrick and criticism eugene o'neill and biography gender and encyclopedias
...for a person finds books by, interviews with, correspondence... [use the correct search syntax last name, first name]
...organization's name finds materials by an agency, government body...
limit by language - use modify search button
limit by material type - change default search of Entire Collection to seach by type -- Journals/Magazines/Newspapers, Films/Videos...
limit to location -- change default search of Entire Collection to a specific location --
for example, a search for women and encyclopedias limited to Doe Reference
[note: the above search can be a handy shortcut if you need to isolate reference materials on your topic. Doe is the central campus location for reference materials in the arts, humanities & social sciences.]
search too broad ? -- use Modify button for limits