WR 121 Research Log

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Assignment #1E, Part 2: Finding Information in Article Databases

We will be using Academic Search Premier in this exercise because it is a broad, interdisciplinary database that is a good starting point for many searches. After completing this assignment in ASP, many of you may find that you need to use additional databases to do your research. The steps you follow here should be helpful. Ask the librarian at your library session for additional suggestions.

  1. Go to the OSU Library Tutorial and complete the section Getting more information about your topic from magazines and journals.

  2. Go to the OSU Libraries homepage and choose Academic Search Premier from the list of Databases. Do a broad keyword search on your topic.

  3. Print out the first page of results and attach it to your research log.

  4. Choose a relevant source from your result list, one that you think will be useful in your paper. You can do this part without leaving the computer, using just the information in the record. Notice where your keywords appear in the record. Are they in the title, abstract or related subject headings? Write down the full citation information for this source in your research log, so that you will be able to correctly cite it if you decide to use it in your paper.

  5. Explain why you chose this particular source by analyzing the information in the database record. What other information can you identify (besides your keywords) that suggests this might be a good source to examine? In your research log, write down two specific pieces of information about the source, and explain why they appeal to you.

    For hints about what to look for in the database record, check this page: Using results lists to identify useful sources.

  6. Find the source you've chosen online (if the full-text is available) or in the library (if a print copy is available). Examine it more closely to decide if you want to use it in your paper, and to see if it will lead you to any additional sources.

    • Is the full-text of the article is available in Academic Search Premier? (If you are not sure where to look for this information, consult the Understanding your search results page from the OSU Libraries tutorial). If the full-text is available, click on the link to access the article.
    • If the full-text is not available, look up the title of the magazine, journal or newspaper in the OSU Libraries catalog. The information you find in the catalog record will tell you whether the item is available online from another database, or in print on the library shelves.
    • If you have trouble identifying the magazine, journal or newspaper title from the record, consult the Understanding your search results page from the OSU Libraries tutorial.
  7. (Answer in your research log) Do you think you will use this source in your final paper? Why or why not? Be specific about the factors that make you think that this is a quality source, or that you should avoid using it.

  8. (Answer in your research log) Can you use this source to find any additional sources? If you are looking at a paper copy, look at the shelves around the journal to see if there are sources on the same topic shelved nearby. Browse through additional issues of the journal, if it seems to be relevant to your topic generally. If you are looking at an online article, try clicking on the author's name or journal name to find additional information.

Finding articles can be one of the most complicated things to do in an academic library. If you have any trouble finding an item, or answering any of the questions in this assignment, ask a librarian. You can:

At this point, add the following to your research log:

  1. The first page of results from Academic Search Premier.
  2. The full citation information for the source you selected.
  3. 2 or more reasons why you selected this source.
  4. A description of the process you used to find the source
  5. Your answers to the questions about your source.

Continue to Assignment #1E, Part 3: Search Engines

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