In this video, we will discuss how to find sources for your research project. We’ll cover the following things:
a. Review places to search
b. How to develop your search terms
c. How to use an electronic database such as EBSCOHost
There are several places to “search” for good sources:
a. The internet
b. Electronic databases
The way you search may be different but you will probably be using the same or similar search terms.
Let’s look at an example of how to develop search terms. Let’s say your topic was the American Civil War. This is a very big topic that you will need to narrow before you are ready to do research. You might decide to narrow your focus to just the Battle of Gettysburg. This too is a very big topic, so you might decide to narrow this to the role of the townspeople in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Once you have a manageable topic, you can search for a research questions such as “What role did the Gettysburg residents play during the Battle of Gettysburg?” The research question will help do two things: 1) focus your research and 2) help identify search terms you may use. There are several hints to use when entering search terms: a. List the most important key words first (e.g., residents and Gettysburg) b. Use lowercase letters (e.g., townspeople rather than Townspeople) c. Enter phrases in quotations (e.g., “American Civil War”) d. Use AND when looking for combined subjects (residents AND Gettysburg AND role) e. Use AND NOT when excluding subjects (“Gettysburg AND NOT soldiers) Electronic databases are one of the best places to find sources. You will find the following: a. articles from journals b. Newspapers c. encyclopedias d. sometimes you might find books, but not often.
EBSCOHost is one of the most popular database search engines. The remainder of this video will focus on how to use EBSCOHost.
Step 1: Go to the OSU Library website (http://library.osu.edu/). Click on Research Databases List in the top right corner
Step 2: You will notice that there are so many databases. Databases arranged by subject on the right.
Databases are arranged alphabetically by title. Click on E to find EBSCOHost
Step 3: Click on #23: “EBSCOHost Databases [Selected Articles in Full Text]”.
Step 4: Click on “EBSCOHost Databases [Selected Articles in Full Text]” Step 5: Selecting databases within EBSCOHost. EBSCOHost has many specialized databases from which to choose. To start, click the “Select all” button in the top-left corner.
You can narrow your search later. Click “Continue”
Step 6: Start searching. Notice that I put quotation marks around the phrase “gun violence” since I only want results for this phrase and not the independent words. Step 7: Notice that I got 14,344 hits. This is far too many. I want to narrow my search down to a manageable number of hits, maybe 50 or so.
Step 8: See how I narrowed my number of hits by making my search more specific:
a. 14,344 hits for “gun violence”
b. 3206 hits for “gun violence” AND schools
c. 556 hits for “gun violence” AND schools AND prevention
d. 239 hits for “gun violence” AND schools AND prevention AND laws
e. 24 hits for “gun violence” AND schools AND prevention AND laws AND “mental health”
Step 9: In addition to changing your search terms, you can narrow or broaden your search by using the left toolbar. Here you can limit your search by date of publication, types of sources, and/or databases.
Step 10: Now that I have a manageable number of hits (24), I can scroll through the articles and decide which ones sound most applicable to my topic. Let’s try article #2: “Guns, Schools, and Mental Illness: Potential Concerns for Physicians and Mental Health Professionals” Step 11: Notice the list of Subject Terms. I can click on these to either narrow or broaden my search. Step 12: Notice how the Abstract summarizes the article. Reading it will help you see if this article is a good fit for your research. Notice that your search terms are bolded.
Step 13: To access the actual article, click on “PDF Full Text” or “Find it” Step 14: Here is the actual article. Notice the toolbar on the right. With this toolbar, you can make a folder of resources.
You can also email articles to yourself. With the toolbar on the bottom, you can save sources. Step 15: The folder option is helpful when you do not want to read all the articles you find right away. You can simply put the articles in your folder and access your folder when you’re ready.
Notice that the right toolbar allows you to save or email the articles in your folder.
a. Remember that researching is messy.
b. You will likely have many starts and stops.
c. You will have to learn about your topic before you can write about it.
d. You will likely need to narrow or broaden your topic.
e. You might even need to change your topic.
f. Good luck and enjoy the process!