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- Choose a research topic, enter it into Google and then into Google Scholar, and compare your results. Some topics you could try: college athletes and academics, antibiotic resistance, Ptolemaic dynasty.
- Using various databases, find one source in each of the four tiers for a particular topic.
- Enter a topic into a general subscription database that has both scholarly and non-scholarly sources (such as Academic Search Complete or Academic OneFile); browse the first few hits and classify each one as scholarly or not-scholarly. Look at the structure of the piece to make your determination.
- The Online Writing Laboratory (OWL) at Purdue University provides this list of links to freely available article databases.
- Google provides some great tips for getting the most out of Google Scholar.
- This resource from Bowling Green State University explains how searching subject headings in a database (compared to key words) can more quickly bring you to relevant sources.
1 If you aren’t actually interested in anything relating to the course, you’d do well to keep that information to yourself.
2 Obviously, not all writing assignments require you to find and use secondary sources. This chapter is relevant to those that do.
3 Bored? Browse these images and other collections of the Library of Congress’ American Memory Project: memory.loc.gov. Fascinating!
4 Wikipedia is a conundrum. There are a lot of excellent articles on there, and I, like many other professors, embrace the open-access values that embody things like Wikipedia and this very textbook. It’s not that Wikipedia is crap; it’s just that there are much more solid alternatives.
5 Where MLA citation style comes from.
6 Where APA citation style comes from.
7 From an author’s perspective, a verdict of “revise and resubmit”—colloquially called an “R & R”—is a cause for celebration. In many fields, most papers are revised and resubmitted at least once before being published.
8 Examples include Academic Search Premier (by EBSCO), Academic Search Complete (by EBSCO), Academic OneFile (by Cengage), General OneFile (by Cengage), ArticleFirst (by OCLC), and JSTOR (by ITHAKA).
9 Some examples: PsycINFO (for psychology), CINAHL (for nursing), Environment Complete (for environmental science), Historical Abstracts (for history).
10 One fairly recent article is Ilana Sever, Joseph Gutmann, and Amnon Lazar, “Positive Consequences of Parental Divorce Among Israeli Young Adults”, Marriage and Family Review 42, no. 4 (2007): 7-28.