Have a research assignment to do?
Have a different type of writing project to complete?
Finding sources (like articles and books) in databases is a lot like online shopping: you use a combination of keywords and filters to help you narrow down what you're looking for. If you don't know much about your topic, start by looking for articles and books in Oxy OneSearch (our library catalog) or Google Scholar. Once you have more knowledge about your topic, use the databases recommended in this Guide to access peer-reviewed or other scholarly material. Navigate to the type of source you're looking for by using the menu on the left.
These are the main types of information sources that you will encounter in your research:
Read your assignment carefully and make sure you understand your Professor's instructions and expectations. Be sure to note any date or material type restrictions. (Example: Use only peer reviewed journals, locate articles from the past three years that explore.., etc.)
Next, follow your interest! Brainstorm ideas about the topic of your assignment or research. Try to make it something that sparks your curiosity or that you can relate to. It will make your research more fun!
Then, think of some key words to describe your topic using both commonly used words as well as terms that may be used specifically in your subject (Example: in human anatomy, the word "eye" is commonly used but "ocular" and "ophthalmic" are other terms).
Now, it is time to do some reading and searching on your topic so move on to Finding Sources (below).
Don't forget, if you get stuck at any point, you can always schedule an appointment with an Oxy librarian.
Found a source, but not quite sure if it fits your assignment? You can use the RADAR (Rationale, Authority, Date, Accuracy, Relevance) framework to evaluate it.
*Remember that every source has its use, so investigate each source you encounter in both the context of its creation and its potential use in your work.*