Library Research f or PSCI 291: Research and Writing Charlotte Johnson Jones Reference & Social Sciences Librarian Spring 2007 A suggested search strategy Search . . . the library catalog, using Pearl Gathering/1,2,3 to find books and government documents on your topic
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Charlotte Johnson Jones
Reference & Social Sciences Librarian
Search . . .
A subject search strategy that works in almost all library catalogs and databases
Go the library’s home page at www.umw.edu/library
From the catalog toolbar choose Keyword Search
Let’s assume we want to find books about voter turnout.
Enter the phrase voter turnout in quotation marks and click Search. The quotation marks tell the catalog to search for this exact phrase.
Many books in UMW Libraries are from scholarly publishers.
Annals are a sort of hybrid between a book and a journal. This series appears bi-monthly, but each issue is dedicated to single topic.
A netLibrary book is an e-book which may be read online.We have more than 46,000 of these books, many in the sciences and social sciences.
Click full record to see more details about this book.
Notice that we searched for voter turnout but the Library of Congress Subject Headings that capture this concept are Voting – United Statesand Political Participation – United States. Click a subject heading to see more items like this one.
Choose Advanced Search for best results.
Type your keyword or phrase in the search box. Enclose phrases in quotation marks. Choose Search only . . . Abstract. If a report is really about your topic, your keywords are very likely to appear in the abstract, or summary, of the report.
The most relevant results are at the top of the list. The entire report on Low Voter Turnout rates 100% relevance. Click the title to see that report.
Click title to read.
Every CQ Researcher report follows the same format: an abstract, overview of the issue, background, the current situation, outlook, pros and cons, a bibliography and more. This is a great place to begin thinking about a policy issue.
The Issues & Controversies database is similar to CQ Researcher. Get there by choosing Facts.com from databases lists on the library’s home page.
Select Issues & Controversies and enter search terms. Again, phrases should be in quotation marks.
These results come up from the most recent backward. Notice that I & C updates its reports as issues evolve.
Notice the issues are spelled out at the top of thereport.
Use Gale PowerSearch to access millions of articles from popular and from scholarly publications. Many are in full text.
It sounds strange, but you usually want to begin in Gale PowerSearch by using the Change Databases feature.
Change Databases lets you see all the databases PowerSearch is set to search at once. Uncheck the ones that don’t make sense for your search, like Computer Database or General Business File ASAP, then click Submit.
You can easily enter two concepts together, like voter turnout AND United States.
You can set limits and request only documents with full text, or only peer-reviewed (scholarly) publications. Limiting to full text, while easy, means that you might miss a really good article in your research.
Magazines (popular) Academic Journals (scholarly) News (popular)
Many articles are full text. Other records only have citations or abstracts.
If there is only an abstract or a citation, click Locate Journal Article to see if the article is available in the Libraries’ online, print, microfilm, or microfiche collections.
Be sure to allow pop-ups!
This means that the Libraries own this journal in some offline format—paper, microfiche, or microfilm. Click the link to use the catalog to figure out how and where.
These indicate that the article may be available in another UMW Libraries database. Try the Article links first. If the links only lead you to places that requires you to pay for an article, don’t. When you have no UMW choice, use Interlibrary Loan to get the article for free.
The PAIS link on the library’s web page opens to Advanced Search.
Advanced Search “Anywhere” is basically a keyword search.
Notice that this is the only clue you’re searching PAIS. Got your reading glasses?
Limit your search to updates (new records are entered monthly), to references for journal articles, or to English only. Notice there is no limit for full text since PAIS has abstracts only.
Search for: voter turnout AND united states. PAIS covers public affairs worldwide, so it’s probably best to specify this country. Also, notice that quotation marks are not needed. Just enter a phrase in a single search box.
Click on the underlined number of results on any green tab to “go” and see a subset of results by publication type:
Journals, Peer Reviewed Journals, and Books
There are 76 results in all.
Peer Reviewed Journals is a subset of Journals.
Your search terms are in bold italics.
A portion of the abstract: Click View Record or the article title to see the full abstract.
Notice the subject headings assigned to each item.
Click to see more works by this author.
Notice the subject headings. There isn’t one for voter turnout. The concept is captured instead by using Political participation AND Voting. Search for all the other items with those 2 headings by checking the boxes. Click Go.
Here’s the complete abstract.
Interesting. Here’s a popular publication with a specific point of view. If you are looking for scholarly articles only, be sure to change to the Peer Reviewed Journals tab.
It works just the same as it did in Gale PowerSearch.
Mark items on the results screen and click Update Marked List before moving to another screen.
Click Save, Print, Email to manage your results.
Or check here on the individual record screen and click Update Marked List before returning to results.