|Office: FLITE 140C|
English 250 - von der Osten
This class help page is designed to guide you through a variety of resources that may be helpful to you as you research your topic for your argument assignment and your research paper assignment. Information on these topics can be found in books (electronic and print) as well as journals. Be sure to check your assignment for the exact requirements of your assignment!!
Books are the best way to gather background, gain a general understanding of your topic, and then explore subjects in-depth. Reference Books, either in electronic or print, are an excellent starting point.
Facts on File's Issues and Controversies section contains information on over 800 top issues in politics, government, business, education, and pop culture. Updated weekly.
Credo Reference includes articles and essays from nearly 450 reference books. Each essay includes a bibliography for further research.
Sage Reference Online includes information from over 80 Sage encyclopedias. Social and political issues are well represented here.
To see if information can be found in full-length books (print and e-books), search FLITE's online catalog.
Tip: use a keyword search to find possible books, then check out the subject headings of those books for a more relevant search.
Getting the Book
Print books are primarily located on the lower level and third floor of FLITE. Be sure to note the call number in the book's catalog record before you set off to find the book.
If the book is available as an e-book, you can click on the link that says "connect to this electronic resource." There is a lot you can do with e-books if you download them rather than just read them on the screen. See this guide to finding online books for more information.
If Ferris does not owns the book(s) you are looking for, you can request it be sent to FLITE through MelCat.
If no library in Michigan owns the book, you can also request it through Interlibrary Loan; however, this does take some time.
You can find journal articles in the over 100 databases availabe to you at FLITE. A significant number - over 80% - of the articles you locate in these databases are available full-text online. These databases may be multi-disciplinary (covering lots of different topics from different aspects) or they may be subject-specific locating articles by authors who look at issues and problems from within a particular point-of-view such as a sociologist, an educator, or someone studying criminal justice.
If you are unsure which database to search for your particular topic, you can first try a multi-disciplinary database such as Academic OneFile, look at one of FLITE's Research Guides, try the FLITE Smart Search - the search box located on FLITE's home page, or browse the databases by subject or academic major.
This is just a sample of some of the databases available at FLITE.
Academic OneFile is a database with articles covering a very large range of topics, and is always a good source to look for articles in any discipline.
This business database provides information from over "3,000 worldwide business periodicals for in-depth coverage of business and economic conditions, management techniques, theory, and practice of business, advertising, marketing, economics, human resources, finance, taxation, computers, and more."
This database provides selective full-text coverage to journals in the fields of law enforcement, corrections administration, social work, drug rehabilitation, criminal and family law, industrial security, and other criminal justice fields. Citations come from over 250 U.S. and intertional criminal justice journals and extend back to 1981.
The database provides coverage from over 650 "journals in communication, mass media, and other closely-related fields of study."
ERIC indexes education-related materials including topics covering "learning, teaching, educational decision-making, and research" and more.
This database "access to full-text of nursing and allied health journals, plus a wide variety of personal health information sources that offer reliable health information to researchers, including nursing and allied health students."
PsychINFO and PsycArticles provides access to "scholarly literature in the psychological, social, behavioral, and health sciences."
Getting the Article
Once you've found citations relevant to the topic you're working with and you need to get a copy of the articles, you'll need to verify whether FLITE owns the particular journal in which each article was published. Many databases now have a link called "Find It", which gives you the range of options available to find the material. If the full text of the article is available, you will be able to find the article by clicking on the link.
Sometimes the Find It button will provide a link to the Library Catalog. This indicates that the journal is found in FLITE's print collection. If you are off-campus and can't come to FLITE, simply order the article through Interlibrary Loan and mention you are an off-campus student in the Notes field.
Why Develop a Search Strategy?
Before starting a search, it is helpful to clarify what you are looking for by developing a search strategy. Developing a search strategy is a useful practice for several important reasons.
- Helps focus your search
- Gives you something to work with
- Saves you time in the long run
- Helps you find larger amount of relevant information
Buliding a Search Strategy
Think about the focus of your question. Summarize your topic in one or two sentences or questions; try to be as specific as possible.
Example: I want to learn about women prisoners who are mothers.
Identify key concepts. Using your summarization, idenitfy the two or three main concepts.
Example: women prisoner mother
Select terms to describe your concepts. Remember to include other words that describe these concepts including synonyms, plurals, and variant spellings.
Example: women woman female; prisoner prisoners inmate inmates; mother parent
Combine the terms into a search statement. Connect the terms that are similar with the word OR. OR tells the database that any or all terms must be included. The results will include any, but not necessarily all of these terms. Use paraentheses to group like terms together and to clarify the relationship between terms.
Example: (women or woman or female) (prisoner* or inmate*) (mother or parent)
Connect these OR concepts with the word AND between the parantheses.
Example: (women or woman or female) and (prisoner* or inmate*) and (mother or parent)
Build on what you've found. The research process is not linear but cyclical. When you find articles that seem relevant, use the subject headings, or descriptors, and citations from those articles to expand your search. This process will help you re-evaluate your ideas and refocus your search if necessary.
What if you absolutely cannot think of other search terms to describe your topic? This website KwMap.net may be useful in helping you come up with other terms. Remember you can always email or call me too!
This power point has more information on developing a search strategy: Getting Started With Research
For more information on the research process, check out this fun tutorial: The Research Process
Whenever you are quoting or using information from a source, you must credit or cite that source. Failure to do so is plagiarism which can lead to expulsion from the University.
To learn more about citations, check out this FLITE Citations page.
Another good resource for citation help is The Owl at Purdue University
Don't forget! Ferris' Writing Center will critique your papers, including biographies and works cited pages via email. Find more information at their website.
To avoid Plagiarism:
- Take clear, accurate notes about where you found specific ideas
- Write down the complete citation information for each item you use
- Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words
- Always credit original authors for their information and ideas
For more information about Plagiarism, please explore the Plagiarism web page provided by the Ferris State University Writing Center.
Know How to Use Your Information Tools (Work Smarter, Not Harder)
- Take five minutes as you start to come up with search terms and save hours of time later on
- Do your research early
- Begin with general searches, then become more specific
- Note which database you searched and what search terms you used in your searches; when you learn new terms, you can go back and try those terms in the databases you've already searched
- Look for a marked list function to save searches
- Save your searches either by printing material, emailing citations, saving to a flash drive, or using a bibliographic database like RefWorks or Citation Machine
- Ask for help!
One of our missions at FLITE is to offer all off-campus students access to the high-quality research materials available through the library. FLITE's subscription databases are available to all current Ferris students, faculty, and staff, including off-campus students. Our Distance Education web site should help you with any questions you may have about reaching FLITE from wherever you are. Be sure to study it c arefully and return to it often. If you experience problems logging on, please call (231) 591-2669 or (800) 4-FERRIS (ext. 2669).
Contact: Stacy Anderson / Email / Phone: 231-591-3635 / Office: FLITE 140C
Don't forget, you are welcome to come to the Oval Information Desk and ask for help any time. You can also call us 231-591-3602 or chat with us.
Last update: February 9, 2010