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HIS 131 Sherman

Resources for research in American History.
  • URL: https://libguides.cfcc.edu/HIS131-Sherman
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  • Brainstorming Your Topic

    Don't know what topic you want to do?  Take a look a these databases to help brainstorm...

    I Have a Topic, Now I Need More...

    While SIRS and CQ Researcher are great for brainstorming and helping identify topics/keywords, they are limited to mostly shorter articles and do not have much scholarly/peer-reviewed content.  No problem!  Try out your topic/keywords on some of these more in-depth resources...

    Find Full-Text eBooks

    Using Limiters

    Some databases offer lots of ways to limit, or narrow, your search without changing your search terms.

    Sign for narrow

    DATE : Do you want articles or books published just in the last 10 years, 5 years, 6 months? Nearly all databases offer a DATE limiter.

    SOURCE TYPE : Does your assignment specify "trade journals" or prohibit the use of "websites?" Do you need a "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" source? Look for SOURCE TYPE or PUBLICATION TYPE.

    DOCUMENT TYPE : Are you trying to avoid "book reviews," or "obituaries?" If you need a longer article, try selecting "feature" or "cover article." Want opinion rather than just facts? Select "commentary" or "editorial," but exclude "general information."

    LANGUAGE or LOCATION : Finding too many articles in French or Portugese? Studies done in China or Uganda? Look for a LANGUAGE limiter to select only articles written in English, or a LOCATION or GEOGRAPHIC limiter for "United States," "U.S." or a particular state or region of interest to you.

    Magazines vs Trade Journals vs Scholarly Journals

    Here's what to look for:

    CRITERIA POPULAR MAGAZINE TRADE JOURNAL SCHOLARLY JOURNAL
     

     

     

     

    Content Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opinion; general information, purpose is to entertain or inform. Current news, trends and products in a specific industry; practical information for professionals working in the field or industry. In-depth, primary account of original findings written by the researcher(s); very specific information, with the goal of scholarly communication.
    Author Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles, may or may not have subject expertise. Author is usually a professional in the field, sometimes a journalist with subject expertise. Author's credentials are provided; usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise.
    Audience General public; the interested non-specialist. Professionals in the field; the interested non-specialist. Scholars, researchers, and students.
    Language Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers. Specialized terminology or jargon of the field, but not as technical as a scholarly journal. Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area.
    Graphics Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs. Photographs; some graphics and charts; advertisements targeted to professionals in the field. Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs.
    Layout & Organization Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion. Informal; articles organized like a journal or a newsletter. Evidence drawn from personal experience or common knowledge. Structured; includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography.
    Accountability Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style. Articles are evaluated by editorial staff who may be experts in the field, not peer-reviewed*; edited for format and style. Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers* or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style.
    References Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given. Occasional brief bibliographies, but not required. Required. Quotes and facts are verifiable.
    Paging Each issue begins with page 1. Each issue generally begins with page 1. Page numbers are generally consecutive throughout the volume.

     

    Subject Guide

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    Tips for Better Database Searching

    • Keep your initial search simple—single words or short phrases.  In database, set the limit for “Full Text” right away, but save other limits (such as date ranges, scholarly, etc.) until you see the results list.

     

    • Look for common database tools (suggested subject headings, abstracts, citation help, emailing and save options) on the edges of the page, often in a color bar above the search boxes or in a separate frame on the right or left of your results list.

    Truncation allows you to search variables of a word by typing part of the word plus an asterisk *

    ADOPT finds just adopt, but ADOPT* finds adopted, adopting, adoptions, etc.

    WOMAN finds just woman, but WOM*N finds woman and women.

     

    Enclose your words in quotation marks or parentheses to create a phrase search.

    CHILDREN OF MEN finds titles with any combination of those common words.

    "CHILDREN OF MEN" finds the book and movie with that exact title.

     

    Look for  proximity search options.

    Many CFCC databases offer proximity searching by typing multiple search terms within a single search box (with no quotation marks).

    Google also uses a variation of proximity searching, giving more relevance to words typed in a single search box if they appear near each other in the results.

    Use the right  Boolean operator.

    • Use the right Boolean operator--usually AND--to link two search terms.  Using OR often results in a large number of unrelated (and less useful) results.  Using AND assures that both of your search terms will appear in the same document.