If you know you will be researching the same general topic for years to come, you might want to start a long-term database to track your sources. EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley are different source database tracking applications that also help with developing bibliographic citations. Once you start building a database of sources in one space, you will not want to switch later; it is critical that you take time up front to select wisely.
Use the links below to briefly explore the three source database applications.
Write a reflection of which database you might use and why.
Share-out: Post a copy of your reflection as a reply.
While Wikipedia is generally not a good source to cite by itself (since there is no single author that you can trace the content back to), it is very good at giving broad overviews of a topic. In this respect, you are more interested in the bibliography at the bottom of the Wikipedia page. These are the sources that the Wikipedia page has borrowed from.
Go to the Wikipedia page related to your topic.
Quickly scan it to find the sections that are particularly relevant to you.
Find a source from the Wikipedia bibliography about your topic that you can see being useful to your assignment. An ideal article from the bibliography should have an identifiable author, a date of publication, and its own bibliography as well.
Skim through the article and make sure that it is useful to you.
Share-out: Post the URL of the article below and write 50-100 words about why you chose this article and why you think it will be useful for your paper.
Locate an article that you consider to be a strong resource for your research, one that you have already read.
Skim the body of the article and highlight/circle all of the in-text citations.
Next, determine which sources the author(s) cite the most often. Note: You can either use a simple tally system, or, if you are using a PDF reader/viewer, you may be able to search the document using Ctrl + F (control find), which locates every instance of the name for which you are searching.
Note the top five sources most referenced in the article. Revisit those in-text sections within the document.
Determine whether or not any of the top cited references could potentially be valuable to your research project.
Go to the references section of the article and locate the full bibliographic citation.
Conduct a library search for that source.
Share-out: In the comments section below, post an image of one of the pages where you highlighted/circled the in-text citations.
As you find articles in the Library databases or Google Scholar, pay attention to the keywords the authors use to describe their work. You can usually find these keywords near the top of the article, around the abstract of the article, or in the footnotes. Keep in mind, however, that not every article will have keywords listed.
If they don’t have keywords listed, read the abstract of the article and choose 2-3 keywords for yourself (if you think the article looks useful to you, of course. If it doesn’t, then find another article).
Identify key words for five separate academic articles you find. You should also be saving the PDFs (if they are available) of these useful articles as you check them out.
You should come away from this initial research with a small compendium of the keywords that scholars in your research area use to categorize their work.
Look at the keywords you have collected and synthesize them into 3-4 main words. You should plan on using these keywords to conduct more research.
Share-out: Post the 3-4 main keywords that you synthesized below.
Databases available through the university’s library will be your best resources for academic papers. This is because they host thousands of articles from peer-reviewed journals. Articles that have been peer-reviewed means that they have been checked by other scholars, and the data has been validated.
EITHER: Click on Databases A-Z underneath of the Resources section. Select your discipline (or its closest equivalent) from the Browse Databases by Subject.
OR: Click Resource Guide by Subject underneath the Help section. Select your discipline (or its closest equivalent) from the list. Look at the resulting databases under the Journals tab.
You should always ask your professor for advice about the the best databases to use for the discipline you are researching within.
Do a few searches (use different keywords) within one library database for articles associated with the topic you are researching. Skim the titles of the articles.
Do a few searches (use different key words) within another library database for articles associated with the topic you are researching. Skim the titles of the articles.
On a separate document, write down the names of the databases you searched. Briefly describe the types of articles you found. Which database do you think will be more useful for your research on this project? Why?
Share-out: Copy/paste or upload your description and reflection.