Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Video Tutorials for the Beginner Researcher

Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of doing academic-level research? Not sure where to start? Not sure how to choose a research paper topic or how to use the library databases?

If so, here are two resources that may help:
  1. Find Information Quick Start Tutorial - a brief cheat sheet for doing research using the library
  2. Academic Skills Video Tutorials - a series of informative and fun videos explaining steps in the research process such as choosing a topic, using databases, essay building, and creating a paper outline - each video is designed for the beginner. Scroll down the list of videos on the right side of the tutorial page to view all options.
Questions? Ask a Librarian

Monday, December 8, 2008

Limit your Search by Publication Type

A good search strategy will help you find the materials that are most relevant to your research topic. One way to refine your search is to use filters to limit the kinds of publications that the database searches. This way you can exclude materials that you know will not meet your needs. By limiting your search to a particular publication type (such as only scholarly journals, transcripts, or government documents) you can save yourself time when reviewing search results. You can exclude specific materials like newspapers or make sure that you only see a certain type of publication (like a book review, for example) in your search results.

The ability to limit or filter your search by publication type is different for each database. You may have to look beyond the basic search screen to find this filtering option. For example, in the ProQuest research database you will need to click on the grey More Search Options tabbed link at the bottom of the basic search screen to access additional searching choices. You'll see that Publication Type is a dropdown menu included with other search options:

ProQuest publication type limit option
Often it is worth your time to locate extra filtering options within a library database so that you have less extraneous material to look through when reviewing search results.