Library databases are collections of materials allowing you to search for information in an organized collection, leading to more relevant results. Content in databases has usually undergone some sort of review process, so the material is more reliable than information found on the Internet.
Google Scholar is a search engine that specifically searches scholarly literature and academic resources. Unlike Library Databases (which contain resources chosen by people), Google Scholar results come from an automated search of the internet that is then limited to scholarly material. Because it is automated, results should be reviewed carefully as some aren't scholarly (for example, a high school term paper). Google Scholar is a great option if you aren't finding information about your topic in library databases.
Search engines, like Google, use bots to search the Internet and find results that match the words you entered. Search engines are great for finding background information as well as information on groups and organizations but it is difficult to narrow your search - and you'll often get thousands of results. In addition, anyone can post anything to the web.
Finding the Full-Text of an Article
Use this process to find scholarly (peer-reviewed, academic) and popular (newspapers, magazine) articles in library databases.
Conclusion: Researching your topic or research in databases takes time. You won't always get relevant results the first time you search. Modify and give it another try!
Want materials (e.g., books, articles) that the library doesn't have? Use InterLibrary Loan.
For More Information: email@example.com or https://ill.ulib.iupui.edu/ILLiad/IUP/ILLFAQ.html
(The time it takes to get stuff (articles & books) if University Library has or doesn't have it...)
(A cyclical process)
Primary Sources: Original documents created or experienced contemporaneously with the event being researched. They are first-hand observations, contemporary accounts of events, viewpoints of the time. They present original thinking, report a discovery, or share new information.
Secondary Sources: Works that analyze, assess, or interpret an historical event, era or phenomenon, generally utilizing primary sources to do so. They provide interpretation of information, usually written well after the event. They offer reviews or critiques.
|Primary Sources||Secondary Sources|
|Journal articles detailing original research||Books (except fiction & autobiographies)|
|Newspaper articles written at the time||Histories|
|Oral & video recordings||Journal articles (depending on the discipline these can be primary)|
|Original documents (e.g., birth certificate, trial transcripts)||Literature Reviews|
|Photgraphs||Magazine and Newspaper Articles (this distinction varies by discipline)|
|Records of organizations, government agencies (e.g., annual report, treaty, constitution)|
|Survey Research (e.g., market surveys, public opinion polls)|
|Works of art, architecture, literature, and music)|
|Data, Statistics, etc.|
What are they? Scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles are written by scholars or professionals who are experts in their fields. Popular sources aim to inform a wide audience about issues of interest and are much more informal in tone and scope.
Why do we care? Evidence. You want to base your writing and arguments on the best available evidence. While both types of sources contain credible information, scholarly articles (usually) provide the best evidence for the authors' claims (through high-quality citations and the peer-review process).
|research projects, methodology, and theory||Contents||personalities, news, and general interest articles|
|subject experts||Authors||journalists and generalists|
|academic institutions||Affiliation||staff or freelance writers|
|highly focused, geared towards researchers and professionals||Topics||more generalized, geared towards nonprofessionals|
|peer-reviewed (usually)||Review Process||edited but not peer-reviewed|
|many have dull covers||Appearance||glossy, eye-catching covers|
|few or none||Advertisements||many|
|Journal of Food Science, Urban Studies, Journal of Applied Psychology, Annals of Human Genetics||Examples||People, New York Times, Psychology Today, Time|
*Types of Periodicals - Periodical is a generic term used for magazines and scholarly journals. They are materials that are published at regular intervals (monthly, quarterly, daily, etc.).
How to Read a Scholarly Article
|Order to read it||Part of the Article||Reason|
|#4||Title & Authors||Be sure to check author & journal credentials. Are the authors reputable? Is the journal peer-reviewed? Use Google to find out.|
Read me first. I contain the main points
(NOTE RE: Arts & Humanities & Social Sciences - Some articles aren't as nicely divided as science articles. The information is still there - but many not be broken into sections like this. In that case, read the beginning and end of the article to get the main points.
|#3||Full Article||If you find anything interesting in the abstract or conclusion, then skim the article for that information.|
|#6||Introduction||If you need more information, read me. I contain an overview of the paper and will discuss other research on the topic in the literature review.|
|#7||Methodology||If you need more information, read me. I explain the research process so that you can replicate it.|
|#8||Results||If you need more information, read me. I have data and numbers on the outcome often with charts, graphs, or formulas.|
|#9||Discussion||If you need more information, read me. I explain if the thesis was proved or disproved and any unexpected findings.|
|#2||Conclusion||Read me second. I restate the findings and results, what was discovered, and what still needs to be researched.|
|#5||References||If this article has a lot of relevant information, check the references to find other articles that may also be relevant.|
(A cyclical process)
In a research paper, you develop a unique question and then synthesize scholarly and primary sources into a paper that supports your argument about the topic.
6 Journalistic Question Words to help you refine by Narrowing
Who: Are you interested in a specific group of people? Can your topic be narrowed by gender, sex, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status or something else? Are there any key figures related to your topic?
What: What are the issues surrounding your topic? Are there subtopics? In looking at background information, did you notice any gaps or questions that seemed unanswered?
Where: Can your topic be narrowed down to a geographic location? Warning: Don't get too narrow here. You might not be able to find enough information on a town or state.
When: Is your topic current or historical? Is it confined to a specific time period? Was there a causative event that led your topic to become an area of study?
Why: Why are you interested in this topic? Why should others be interested?
How: What kinds of information do you need? Primary sources, statistics? What is your methodology?
Use the following 6 journalistic question words to guide you through evaluating whether information sources are authoritative (to be trusted as being accurate and reliable) for your needs.
Important: A source is never only “good” or “bad” but can be more or less appropriate depending on the research you are doing.
Example: Your friend runs out of the basement yelling “it’s flooding!” and is an authoritative source on if the basement is flooding. However, your friend has never read Jane Eyre and gives you his opinion about the book, is not an authoritative source on Jane Eyre.
WHO : Author
Explanation: Authority exists in many forms such as subject expertise (a professor), societal position (a member of Congress), or special experience (a participant at an event). What are the author’s qualifications? What credentials contribute to the author’s authority? Many disciplines have acknowledged authorities (e.g., well-known scholars) that are considered “standard” in the field. But even these “standards” can be and have been challenged.
Example: A blog posting by an eye-witness to a riot would be an authoritative primary source on the subject. That same blog posting would not be an authoritative secondary source.
WHAT : Type of Document & Overall Tone
Explanation: Authoritative content may be any type of media (books, articles, videos, social media, etc.) and come in many different tones (conversational, academic, technical). Authoritative sources are appropriate to the research being done.
Example: Research on Malcolm X would be enhanced by an informal conversation with one of his friends, not by the study of technical reports. Research on structural engineering, however, would be enhanced by the study of technical reports.
WHERE : Source of Information (Where it Appears)
Explanation: Authoritative content may be in formal (such as a scholarly article) or informal (a blog posting) sources. Many disciplines have acknowledged authorities (publications like scholarly journals or books) that are considered “standard” in the field. Similarly, there are publishing houses, academic presses, or even certain restricted website domains (e.g., .gov or .edu) that have reputations for providing high-quality information. But even these “standards” can be and have been challenged. It is important to evaluate not only the work but also where you found it.
Example: Authoritative research on fracking produced by the federal government but then re-purposed by a fracking company website, may be authoritative, but should be carefully analyzed in the context of the site on which it was found.
WHEN : Publication Date & Occurrence that Precipitated Publication
Explanation: Authoritative information may be recently published or very old. Subject and context are all important when asking “when.”
Example: Referring to a book published in 1900 for research on the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865) could be very authoritative. Researching stem cell transplantation using a journal article published in 2010 could be out-of-date.
WHY : Author’s Purpose for Writing the Document
Explanation: Bias can exist in any source (newspapers, scholarly articles, blog posts, etc.). When evaluating a source, asking why they wrote the document (and if the work was funded or sponsored, by whom) can help you decide if it is authoritative. Having a bias doesn’t mean a source shouldn’t be used, rather any information should be examined critically and verified with another source.
Example: Research explaining the benefits of smoking funded by a tobacco company very likely has a bias but could still contain authoritative information if verified by other sources.
HOW : Author’s Method of Gathering & Analyzing Data
Explanation: There are many different ways to gather & analyze information. When gathering data an author may have done their own original study, compiled various outside sources, interviewed people, or be writing from personal experience. Any method can be authoritative, depending on the information need. When analyzing data, the author's use of proprietary, inter-operable (the extent to which systems can exchange, interpret, and share data), or open data formats signals how and if an author intends the data to be used and shared.
Example: Using interviews to support the effectiveness of a new drug is not a sound methodology; however, using interviews to give context to a riot is.
Method adapted from Rachel Radom and Rachel W. Gammons, “Teaching Information Evaluation with the Five Ws: An Elementary Method, an Instructional Scaffold, and the Effect on Student Recall and Application,” Reference & User Services Quarterly 53, 4 (2014): 334-47.
Find Background Information - Entries and embedded links can be used to generate ideas and learn the terminology associated with your topic.
Generate Search Terms - Take a look at the embedded links, bolded words, or table of contents. They can help generate search terms to use for searching in library databases.
Look at the Bibliography - The bottom of the page should list the sources used to compile the entry. They can point you to other resources (sometimes scholarly) on the topic.
Cite to Wikipedia - In academic research, you usually never cite to an encyclopedia or other sources of background information.
Believe Everything - Because the content is user-created, anonymous, and does not have a mandatory review process, there is no guarantee that the information is accurate and credible.
Find a Book at University Library
Ask a Librarian: http://ulib.iupui.edu/research/askalibrarian
Service & Information Desk: 317-274-0978
Infographic powered by Piktochart
A peer-reviewed article can have many names:
The Process of Peer Review:
Some common characteristics of peer reviewed articles are:
A General Guide to Understanding Written Plagiarism
Are my own words being used? > Yes > Is it my idea? > Yes > Yay! You're not plagairizing!
Are my own words being used? > Yes > Is it my idea? > No > You're paraphrasing > Now What? > Add a Citation and Bibliography!
Are my own words being used? > No > Are you using quotation marks or placing it in a block quote? > Yes > Yay! You're not plagiarizing! > Now what? > Add a citation and bibliography!
Are my own words being used? > No > Are you using quotation marks or placing it in a block quote? > No > You're plagiarizing! > Go Quote it! > Now What? > Add a citation and bibliography!
[Brought to you by EasyBib]
[How to Recognize Plagiarism, Indiana University Bloomington School of Education, 2005. Web. http://www.indiana.edu/~istd/overview.html.]
Academic Search Premier (EBSCO)
Finds news articles?
Yes, Google finds news in its regular web search, the news tab, as well as at news.google.com
Finds scholarly articles?
Yes, but they’re buried and often behind a paywall
Yes, also has the “Find It @ IUPUI” link located in Settings > Library Links to get full text from our databases
No, but finds the journals
Yes, and often has the full text PDF
Sí, utiliza el filtro "Publicaciones académicas." También puede filtrar por "texto completo"
Has peer-reviewed filter?
No, but most of the library’s collection is scholarly
No, las noticias típicamente no se someten al proceso de "peer review," sino son revisadas por una editora
Yes, but only full text of older books that are out of copyright or citations to books
Yes, but only full text of older books that are out of copyright or citations to books
Yes, finds books and chapters but doesn’t always find full text
No, sólo revistas y periódicos
Has an advanced search screen?
Yes, but you have to search first then find where it’s hidden or go to: https://www.google.com/advancedsearch
Yes, it's available from the dropdown arrow in the search bar
From Topic to Question - Narrowing your Topic
|Example||Types of Sources|
TIP: Think of the 6 Question Words to help you narrow: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How
|Climate Change||Background Information (Wikipedia, Books - IUCAT)|
|Broad Question (What)||What is the effect of climate change on the environment?||Secondary Sources (Scholarly Articles)|
|More Specific Question||How is climate change affecting glaciers?||Secondary Sources (Scholarly Articles)|
|Research Question (Who, What, & Where)||How is glacial melting affecting wildlife in Alaska?||Primary Sources (Research Articles, Newspapers, Data & Statistics)|
TIP: How specific you get depends on the assignment and how much time you have to complete it.
Your question needs to be narrow enough to work on in the time allotted and broad enough to find sources. If your question requires data collection or obscure primary sources, it may not be feasible for a semester-length paper.
(Adapted from an original by Shonn Haren, Wichita State University Libraries, 2015)
The AND operator narrows your search. Ordering "a burger and fries" gets you both, so using AND between keywords returns results with both or all of your keywords.
The OR operator expands your search. Ordering "a Pepsi(TM) or a Coke(TM)" gets you a brown soda with cola flavoring, so using OR returns results with either of your keywords.
The NOT operator excludes something from your search. Ordering a beer but NOT wine will get you a beer. So use NOT to exclude words you don't want to find. For example, you want to search for articles about football but NOT college football.
Search statements include keywords and the logical, or Boolean operators that connect them. To create a search statement, combine your keywords with AND, OR, and sometimes with NOT to strategically look for your information.
VPN, or virtual private network, let's you join IUPUI's network while off-campus by creating a secure connection to campus.
Using a VPN lets you access IP-restricted resources easily from home. For example, library databases, e-books, and shared folders.
Contact the UITS Support Center @ 317-274-HELP or go to: https://kb.iu.edu/d/ajrq
Our Favorite Library Apps
Besides social media apps (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) that you use to follow @iupui_ulib, did you know there are a bunch of apps to help you use University Library and its resources?
Here are some of our favorites:
BrowZine allows you to discover and follow journals in your field by subject or title. Fill a virtual bookshelf with journals you read and create alerts to new issues. Read and save individual articles or share them through email, citation management programs, or social media.
Bluefire Reader / Ebrary / EBSCO e-books / OverDrive
E-reader apps that accommodate many types of ebooks. NOTE: Overdrive also allows you to listen to audiobooks and is available at the Indianapolis Public Library.
Box is a secure cloud storage sponsored by Indiana University. Use Box to view and share your saved files. (Edit them in a separate app like Word or DocsToGo).
Access the IUPUI Learning Management System (LMS) from your mobile device.
Apps used by many public libraries, including in Indianapolis, which all you to stream movies & music.
The IU Mobile app allows you to access One.IU from your mobile device.
PulseSecure connects you to the campus network through a VPN so you can access library subscription materials such as databases.
EndNote / Mendeley / Zotero (ZotPad, 3rd party)
Citation management tools have apps that allow you to access your research on mobile devices. Some are from third parties, like ZotPad.
Databases that cover all four areas:
An Event Occurs (An event, discovery, artistic creation...)
Minutes to Hours: Television, radio, the Internet, News Sites, Social Media report basic facts of the event. Since information is reported as the event happens, facts may not be accurate or verified. Audience? General Public. Purpose? Response to the Event.
Days to Weeks: The event appears in newspapers and magazines. There has been some time to fact check. New information is reported and often includes expert opinions. Analysis of the event begins. Audience? General Public. Purpose? Analysis of the Event.
Months to Years: Academics and experts begin researching, experimenting, and studying the event. Academic articles and books appear. Audience? Academics, Experts, Professionals. Purpose? Analysis of the Event.
More Years: General facts about the event are established and overviews appear in reference materials like textbooks and encyclopedias (e.g., Wikipedia). Audience? Both General Public and Academics. Purpose? Place the event into the general context of knowledge.
Adapted from: "Knowledge Cycle" Start Your Research Tutorial, IUPUI University Library http://iupui.campusguides.com/startyourresearch from an original at the University of California Irvine and an adaptation at Claremont Colleges Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License; and, Meagan Lacy, "Problems with Authority," Guttman Community College, slide 5, http://academicworks.cuny.edu/nc_oers/1/.
A very short overview of Peer-Review
What do peer-reviewers do?
I need....Scholarly Sources. Then Use....Political Science & Legal Databases, Interdisciplinary Databases, and Books (IUCAT).
I need....Very Current Information. Then Use...Newspapers, Think Tanks, IGOs & NGOS.
I need....Data or Statistics. Then Use....Think Tanks, Statistics Databases, Opinion & Poll Databases, IGOs & NGOs.
I need....Primary Sources. Then Use....Newspapers, Government Sources.
This page is organized primarily by subject (except for the separate Books and Organizations & Assocations pages).
Books = In-depth, detailed coverage of a topic and background information.
Newspapers = Up-to-date, national and regional information for a general audience.
Internet = Wide variety of information. Evaluate websites carefully.
755 W. Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202