So you’ve picked a topic for your Research Paper, it’s time to start finding those required sources! Usually these can include books, articles, websites, videos, etc, but check with your assignment sheet and professor to make sure. This page can help you get started with that.
A few general search tips: Think about narrowing your topic before you start searching. Try looking at this Prezi to give you ideas on how to do that. Most databases/library search engines are not forgiving of spelling errors like Google, so type carefully. Also remember to search for multiple word terms with quotation marks. These keep the words together when the database searches, instead of looking for the words separately, i.e. "bipolar disorder." Some topics will cross subject areas, don’t just look in one place.
Grab your citations right away: Most of the databases/library search engines (including the library catalog and our streaming film databases) provide you with a basic citations. It may not always be in APA format, but even one in MLA is better than nothing. Save them all in one place right away instead of having to go look them up later. Check out the box on citations on this page for more help.
Library search engines (databases) are a great place to find scholarly journal articles or other sources for your paper. Each search engine has a different flavor/subject area it covers. If the full text isn’t right there, click the Find It button. If we don’t have the article, you can request it from another library by clicking the “get this article or book chapter” link. (The turnaround time on this is usually about 2 days.)
Keywords are simply those words you type into the search box to get the results you want. Just like in Google, you don't type your whole question, just the important words or terms that will help you get the answers. Remember to consider synonyms when you create your keyword list.
So what are subjects then? Subjects are a specific word or phrase some librarian has assigned to a particular topic. Basically it's a tag we attach to articles or books. Why would we do that? Because that way when you search for that specific word or phrase you get EVERYTHING that has been tagged with that term. You can find these subjects (or subject headings) in the library catalog and most databases (except JSTOR). Usually they live along the left side bar or in the middle of the record (when you click on a specific book or article).
Want a real life example of keywords? Let's look at nicknames and Facebook. Let's say a bunch of your friends decide to upload photos on Facebook. Now each of these friends calls you by a different nickname. So they tag you in them by whatever they call you. In order to see all of these pics, you'd have to search for each of your nicknames to find them.
Subjects on the other hand are like your actual given name. Or at least your Facebook official name. Now when you actually tag photos on Facebook, you know you're forced to tag them with their "actual" name. And while it may be less personal or descriptive, you do get all the photos of you when you use the offical name tag.