Eng 1213 General

Library Tutorials

English Comp 1213: 

Introduction to the NSU Libraries
Research Strategy -- Provides steps and concepts involving the research process.
Search Terms--Provides information on boolean and matching terms to the data.
Evaluation of URLs -- Provides criteria for evaluating the quality of any resource.
EbscoHost Journals Overview to searching EbscoHost databases.
Citations and Plagiarism-- How to cite most common resources using MLA and APA

How is the NSU library organized?

     Physical Overview to the Library
Library of Congress

 Why do research?

Research can lead to information; information can lead to knowledge, and knowledge is powerful. All of the informational resources available originated from someone being curious about something, exploring it, and sharing the findings.

What is authority and why is it important?

Experts in a field are individuals who might have degrees in a field, work in the discipline, and have published in the subject area.  Their opinions can be very useful in finding credible sources.  For instance, anyone can write Wikipedia articles, but only experts can contribute to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Keep the following concepts in mind when choosing and using resources for research:
1. Identify authors who are outstanding in their fields, determine the credentials of the author. Does the author have a degree in the field, is the author a professor?
2. Date of publication--is it recent? On Web pages, do the links work?
3. Does the publisher have a good reputation? Is it published by a professional association or university press? Is the journal refereed? On Web pages, check the domain (.edu is educational, .gov is government, .com is commercial, .net is network, .org is organizational)
4. How was the resource received by the critics?
5. Completeness of the material. Does the source have an index, bibliography?
6. Is the language slanted or biased?
7. Does it include well known facts or research studies? Is the information complete, accurate, objective?
8. What is the purpose of the resource?  Is it for the general public, children, scholars? Is the goal to market persuade, educate?

Assess the quality of the Web sites listed below:
Feline Reactions to Bearded Men

How is information organized and from where do articles originate?

The cycle of information is an interesting one.  Research starts with an idea.  Someone becomes curious about something and wants to explore it.  Literature reviews are conducted, empirical evidence is gathered.  The researcher may wish to cross disciplinary lines and take a literary theory and apply it to another field.  The researcher writes an article.  If the article adds to the body of knowledge or presents a new concept, a journal in that discipline might be interested in publishing it. Article submissions go through a reviewing process in which multiple reviewers will read and comment on the article.  This is an example of a refereed journal article. If it passes the review process, the article is published in the journal.  Indexers read journal articles and assign subject headings to the articles and place the citation in indexes (such as MLA Bibliography).  Researchers comb indexes to find articles, and the whole cycle starts over.  This is a cycle that occurs right here at NSU.  Our faculty and students are publishing.  You can become a part of the process, too. Exciting, isn't it?

The Flow of Information (from the University System of Georgia) depicts how information about an event can be represented in different types of resources. Understanding how information is disseminated helps to know where to look and the attributes of each format.

How do I choose a topic?

Listen to the news, read newspapers, surf the Web, and consider your personal interests to identify potential topics.  Read encyclopedia (general encyclopedias are in the Reference area, call number "AE") articles to get background information about a topic.  Consider which types of resources (newspapers, books, etc.) would include information on your topic.  See the chart below for types of resources. 

How do I use the databases?

As a topic is identified, choose key terms that describe the topic.  Consider synonyms, as well. Use the Articles and Databases Web page to identify useful databases. After selecting a database, use the Help screens for suggestions in using it effectively.  Try the thesaurus to determine subject headings used in the database.  Use boolean logic  to formulate a search strategy.  Go for exactly what you are trying to locate, and broaden the search if nothing is found.  If a subject heading is identified, use it.  When a good resource is found, check to see how it is indexed (what subject headings are used).

Information can be shared in a variety of formats and examples are as follows:
Books Shows trends, gives history of topic, provides definitions, theories Library Catalog

Journals Covers current research on scholarly topics Academic Search Premier

Articles and Databases
Magazines Report on popular topics, news Reader's Guide
Masterfile Premier
Newspapers Report on popular topics, news Newspaper Source Plus,
NewsBank Newsfile (Oklahoma papers)
New York Times
Government Publications

Publications on all topics prepared by federal and state agencies. Occupational Outlook Handbook
NSU Government Publications
Audio Visuals Graphic representation of topic Library Catalog
Internet Provides quick, full text information, especially on current topics.


Internet Search Engines Available

Some (hopefully) reliable approaches to finding good Web sources:
The Internet Public Library
JVL NSU Subject Listing of Web Resources

Interviews Provides a personal account of a topic In person or through e-mail

How do I cite sources using M.L.A. style?

The Citations and Plagiarism tutorial provides a good overview to citing resources. The M.L.A. Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is located on the first floor at the call number, Ref. LB 2369.G53.  Also, try the MLA Web site and the Purdue OWL. For additional help in citing sources, try KnightCite Bibliography Machine.

How do I acquire materials not available at NSU?

Interlibrary loan is available free of charge in which books and copies of articles can be borrowed from other libraries.  Allow approximately two weeks for interlibrary loan requests to be received.

Can I access library resources from off campus?

Feel free to use this Web page for your research.  Many of the resources listed above are also available through the John Vaughan Library Home Page. With an NT password and userid, these resources may be used from any location at any time.

How do I get help?

The reference librarians are here to help you.  Feel free to contact us directly or go to the Reserve Desk and ask for us to be called.

    SophiaBeverley Threatt, MLS, MA
    Instructor of Library Services
    Languages and Literature and Communication, Art, & Theatre
    Resource Coordinator
    (918) 444-3267

Page maintained by: SB Threatt
Last Updated: 08/07/2012