COMN 1310: Introduction to Library Research Timothy Bristow – Scott Library Research & Instruction Librarian
Class Goals: • Learn how to construct an effective keyword search • Learn how to use the Library Catalogue and Periodical Indexes to find relevant information • Discuss ways to think critically about your research sources • Prepare you to work on your assignments
QUESTIONS: • When starting a research project, where do you look first? • What is a scholarly source?
Scholarly Sources Are: • The product of research & analysis and provide evidence of this work by citing other sources • Produced by scholars for scholars and are part of a larger scholarly conversation • Often not freely available online, which is why you need to use our library catalogue and databases
Keyword Searching: • Prepare your search by writing out your research question and then identifying the key concepts • The same concept can often be expressed in multiple ways, so consider alternative keywords: synonyms • Construct your search using language that the database understands to get the best possible results: syntax • Search, examine the results, and modify your search
Library Catalogue: • The Library Catalogue is a database containing records for materials in all York Libraries • Use the Catalogue to find books, films, reports, but notjournal articles • Advanced Search will give you more control and often better results when searching for a topic
Periodical Indexes: • Periodical Indexes are databases that contain records of journal articles in a particular subject area • Use the Library’s online Subject Guides and the COMN 1310 Course Guide to identify useful indexes • The indexes contain records for many articles that we have at York and for some that we don’t
Thinking Critically: 1 • Authority: Who is responsible for producing the source? Is the author or publisher affiliated with an organization? • Audience: What is the intended audience of the source? E.g. researchers, students, the general public • Purpose: Why was the source created, what is its purpose? E.g. to present research, set policy, inform, entertain, persuade
Thinking Critically: 2 • Perspective: Does the source express a particular political or institutional perspective? • Currency: When was the source created? Is the information still relevant? • Validity: Are the author’s claims supported by evidence and research? Does the research method seem sound?
Getting Help: • Visit the Research Questions Desk at the Scott Library • Book a Research Appointment • Ask a question online with askON • Consult the COMN 1310 Course Guide