In secondary sources, authors analyze and interpret primary source materials.
Secondary sources can be scholarly or popular. Scholarly sources (sometimes called "academic" or "peer-reviewed" sources) are written by and for experts and typically include bibliographies and citations. Popular sources are written for a general, non-expert audience and can be authored by anyone.
When search databases, keep these techniques in mind.
As you search databases, you will likely find popular sources mixed with scholarly ones. Use the limiter option typically located in the left column to limit your search to journals. Below is an example from Academic Search Premier.
Use quotation marks.
If your search more than one word and you want the words to be found together in that order, use quotation marks.
king of pop (without quotes)
"king of pop" (with quotes)
Use AND to add different concepts to your search.
Use OR for synonyms or related terms to broaden your search.
Truncation is a way of giving your search tool flexibility to find alternate endings for your search term. In most databases, the *asterisk works as the truncation symbol
controvers* will retrieve controversy, controversies, controversial, etc.
Feeling overwhelmed? Try these strategies.
What if you can't find enough articles? Try these strategies.
There are three methods for obtaining the actual articles you wish to read:
Method 1: In some databases, you will be able to link directly to the fulltext article. Look around, as different databases have different interfaces. Look for a link or buttons that says "Check for Full Text" or Download PDF or similar. If given the choice between a PDF or HTML version of the article, always choose the PDF format. This will give you an exact image, including page numbers, of the article as it appears in the paper journal.
Method 2: If a direct link to full text is not available, then look for a link that checks for fulltext in Primo Search to see if the library subscribes to the journal.
Method 3: Interlibrary Loan
If your searching indicates that the article is not available in any format, then request the article through ILLiad, the interlibrary loan service. ( Most databases include links to ILLiad within each record.) It usually takes about a week or less to receive an electronic copy of the article.
If your article is not available at Collins Library, you've got another option to getting it. Use Tipasa, our interlibrary loan service.
Once you have an account, either go directly to Tipasa and manually enter the information, or, if you're using a database, look for a shortcut link to automatically fill out the form.
Allow at least a week for the article to come. If your article is delivered in electronic format, you'll receive an email with a link to follow as soon as it's arrived. If it's delivered in paper, you'll receive it right in your campus mailbox.
A good starting point for academic work is one or more of the many database available through the library's website. Databases provide access and content to sources that are generally not available on the open web through a general search engine like Google.
Every database contains only certain types and amounts of information. Which ones you choose depends on your purpose.
Multidisciplinary databases cover a wide variety of subject areas and may include a mix of popular and scholarly sources. They are good resources when you begin your research. Academic Search Premier is an example of a multidisciplinary database.
Subject databases cover a specific discipline and provide the widest range of access to scholarly sources. They are used for in-depth research. International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text, a music database, is an example of a subject database. Which subject databases you search will be determined by who may be writing about your topic. Looking for articles about punk and feminism? In addition to International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text, search the Gender Studies database.
When starting your research, it's a good idea to search multidisciplinary databases as they help identify what scholars are writing about from different perspectives.
Just remember, with JSTOR you aren't accessing the most current articles from a journal and you can only do keyword searching.
Google Scholar searches open access materials as well as items from many publishers, including some of the resources to which Collins Library subscribes. However, Google Scholar only searches a fraction of the published scholarly literature. Use the databases listed on the page as well as others found on the database A-Z list.
These subject databases may be especially useful for your research projects for this class.
The following are recommended subject specific databases that cover scholarly sources in different fields. For other subject specific databases, go the library subject guides.