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10/25/2014
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Library Research Tutorial

Introduction

Welcome to the UCF Libraries' Research Tutorial. This tutorial will show you:

  • How to begin your research
  • How to search the UCF Libraries' Catalog to find books and other items the UCF Libraries owns
  • How to search the UCF Libraries' Articles & Databases to find magazine, newspaper, and journal articles
  • How to evaluate the information you have found
  • How to use the information you have found

This tutorial is important because at the university level you need to know how to do research that goes beyond simply searching Google or Wikipedia. While those tools have their place they are not the best for performing high quality academic research. To start expand the section "Getting Started." Once you have completed a section expand the section below it.

Note: This tutorial is compromised solely of videos. You must have sound and the latest version of Flash installed on your computer. If you encounter any problems with the tutorial please e-mail Jason Martin.

Getting Started

How to Search the UCF Libraries' Catalog

In order to find books or any other item the library owns, you must search the UCF Libraries' Catalog. The Flash video below will show you how to search the UCF Libraries' catalog.

From the video you will learn:

  • How to search for an item in the catalog
  • How to find the item in the library

This 5 minute video contains audio.

How to Search the UCF Libraries' Databases

If you want to find articles, whether from a magazine, newspaper, or a journal, you will need to use the UCF Libraries' Articles & Databases. The Flash video below will show you how to search the database Academic Search Premier to find journal articles.

From the video you will learn:

  • How to access the UCF Libraries' Articles & Databases
  • How to choose the appropriate database to search
  • How to log in from off-campus
  • How to access and search Academic Search Premier
  • How to get articles full text online

This 5 minute video contains audio. Once you are done with the video expand the other sections to learn about scholarly resources.

Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

Your instructor will sometimes tell you to find articles in a scholarly or an academic journal. Those are two names for peer-reviewed or refereed journals. Peer-reviewed journals contain original research articles which have been reviewed by experts in the field who judge the article on many criteria including quality of writing, validity of research and findings, and the relevance of the research. All articles will include of list of sources used.

Some examples of scholarly journals

  • Educational Research Quarterly
  • Journal of the American Medical Association
  • William and Mary Quarterly

Popular sources do not publish research articles, although many might summarize research findings or publish investigative articles. Articles from popular magazines are on a wide range of topics and do not go through any review process other than the publication's editor. Usually popular articles do not include reference lists of sources used or in text citations.

Some examples of popular sources:

  • Newsweek
  • Rolling Stone
  • Time

Your research will be helped immensely if you use articles from peer-reviewed journals. Think of it this way. If you fell and broke your arm and could not get to a doctor, would you rather use information you found in the Journal of the American Medical Association or Time Magazine to mend your broken arm?

How to Search for Scholarly Articles

So how do you find these academic journals? If you are using Academic Search Premier then the easiest way is to check the box marked "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" on the databases search page.

Screenshot of a Peer Review form

Evaluating Your Information

Citing Your Information

The End!

Congratulations! You have completed the UCF Library Research Tutorial. Now you are ready to start doing proper research. If you have any questions along the way you have several options.

You can:

  • Stop by the Reference Desk located on the main floor of the UCF Libraries
  • If you are at home, you can Ask-A-Librarian via real time chat or a phone call
  • If you have an in-depth question you may schedule a Research Consultation with a Reference Librarian

Now get started on your reserach!

Last updated August 24, 2012 2:57:26 PM

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