Read an introduction to the campus libraries for undergraduates.
Set up your computer for off campus access to library databases.
Need a map of the campus libraries?
Each library has its own hours. Click on the calendar for each library to view a month at a time.
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.
The Graduate Theological Union is "is the largest and most diverse partnership of seminaries and graduate schools in the United States", located a few blocks north of UC Berkeley. The GTU Library is one of the most comprehensive theological libraries in the country.
Read information for UC Berkeley students on using the GTU Library.
To find materials, search the GTU Library online catalog, GRACE.
Please note: this course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. For a list of current course guides, please see http://lib.berkeley.edu/alacarte/course-guides.
Choose a topic.
Do a brain dump: Note down what you already know about your topic, including
Fill in the gaps in your knowlege: get background information from encyclopedias or other secondary sources. Wikipedia can be good here.
Select the best places/ databases to find information on your topic. Look under the History Databases tab of this guide for article database suggestions. Or use a catalog like Oskicat or Melvyl to search for books and other resources.
Use nouns from your brain dump as search terms.
Evaluate what you find. Change search terms to get closer to what you really want.
Refine Your Topic - Using the information you have gathered, determine if your research topic should be narrower or broader. You may need to search basic resources again using your new, focused topics and keywords.
Take a look this short tutorial on beginning your research for more ideas.
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 finding the right keywords.
The publication timeline, scholarly vs. 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.
How to cite your sources correctly.
Common techniques for constructing searches that yield useful results.
Specialized search strategies for targeting specific topics.
"I'm writing a paper on World War II."
Often students start their research with a very general topic, even though they may realize the topic is too large to deal with in a 10-15 page paper. Faculty and librarians tell them, "You have to narrow this down." But how do you narrow a topic?
You can combine these ideas, "What were the major impacts of WWII on women in France, in the decade after the war?"
More ideas in our brief tutorial on topic selection and narrowing.
Reference sources may be a good place to browse for topics, get an overview of a subject, find names, places, dates and facts that you can use in your research.
To find reference sources, try these strategies:
Select a subject and browse "Other Resources for this Subject" in the left column (ex: dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.)
religion united states encyclopedias
ALSO: search for bibliographies
Jews United States Bibliography
Mormon* United States Bibliography
Examples of a few sources for background information, names, places, and possibly titles of primary sources:
To find books, DVDs, maps, sound recordings, manuscripts, and much more - everything except articles - use a library catalog.
OskiCat = most UC Berkeley libraries
MELVYL = all UC campus libraries, including all UC Berkeley libraries
What's the difference? more details here
For each item make sure you know the name of the physical library, call number, and whether or not it's checked out, library use only, etc.
Search OskiCat for both primary and secondary sources. Examples:
(keywords) military chaplain* vietnam*
(keywords) chinese catholic* san francisco
* = truncation symbol/wildcard for variant word endings
ex: child* = child childs children childish childhood
to retrieve more items, use fewer search terms (or broader search terms):
(keywords) chaplain* vietnam*
(keywords) chinese religion* san francisco
sometimes you have to try over and over to find a term:
(jews university/jews academia/jewish professors...none of these work out)
(keywords) jewish intellectuals
look at the titles and official subject terms and find other terms:
jews intellectual life
jewish college teachers
if you know the name of a person or organization, search it both as an author and as a topic:
author: o'connor, john joseph
subject: o'connor, john joseph
Try out these OskiCat features:
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.
1. Think about which academic disciplines might write about your topic. Examples: literature, film, anthropology, history...
2. Find the appropriate article database by subject (academic discipline or department). Look for "Recommended" databases.
Library home > Articles > Article Databases by Subject
Once you've searched a database to find articles, you may need to use 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.
Primary sources can be found in a variety of library tools:
Learn more about your topic in advance:
For a complete list, start with the Library home > Electronic Resources > Electronic Resources, Types A-Z > Archival Collections and Primary Sources
Search OskiCat for primary sources using keywords and adding terms that denote primary sources, such as:
puerto rican* interviews
african american soldiers personal narratives
irish american* newspapers
In order to avoid plagiarism, you must give credit when
This content is part of the Understanding Plagiarism tutorial created by the Indiana University School of Education.
Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but any are easier than doing it by hand!
It's always good to double check the formatting -- sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.
The UCB Library Guide to Citing Your Sources discusses why you should cite your sources and links to campus resources about plagiarism. It also includes links to guides for frequently used citation styles. Also:
If you've never used Zotero before, use the QuickStart Guide to get started.
Change your preferences if you want Zotero to
To use Zotero to find specific articles in our library's databases, set up the Open URL resolver with this link: http://ucelinks.cdlib.org:8888/sfx_local?
An in-depth discussion of the relative virtues of Endnote and Zotero,
Open Scholar. Click on scholar preferences [upper right corner]. Under Library Links, enter the word Berkeley. Choose UC Berkeley eLinks and Open WorldCat - Library Search and Save your preferences. UC e-links will now appear in Google Scholar search results.
Do your search in Google Scholar. Look in the green toolbar for the envelope icon, and click it. New items will be sent to your email account as they are found by Google.
Do a Google Scholar search. Click on the "Cited by" link under a citation and select the "Search within articles citing..." checkbox.
You already know that you should evaluate anything you find on the Internet. Here are some reminders of what to look for.
Other ways to get help: in person, by e-mail, using specialized chat services
Research Advisory Service for Cal Undergraduates
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.
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