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Research in Economics

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  1. Research in Economics

  2. Research Skills • Searching is not intuitive. • There are techniques you can learn to achieve better search results. • Critical thinking is involved in searching and in evaluating search results.

  3. Benefits of Learning Research Skills • Gives you access to a full range of resources. • Lets you acquire skills that can be used through the course of your lives and careers. • Allows you to do more exciting work as students.

  4. Today you will learn • How to conduct research. • How to find resources in economics. • How to evaluate the results of your searching.

  5. Topics • Some sources for topic ideas • Literature in the field of Economics • Work or life experience • Instructor

  6. Resources For Your Topic • Books or Government Documents • Periodical or Journal Articles • Internet

  7. Availability of Books and Government Documents • Information on resources available can be found on the Library Catalog • Available to be delivered from the Stiern Library – go to and click on distance services for more information • Available from other libraries through I.L.L. (Usually free through Stiern Library for CSUB students)

  8. Finding books on a topic. • Library Catalogs that you can access from the CSUB Library website at • Book Reviews are available through subscription databases like Wilson Web. • Works Cited or Bibliographies. • Instructor or Librarian. • Online Vendors – or

  9. CSUB Library Catalog • Searchable electronic database. • 3 types of searches: Author/Title Search, Guided Search, and New Acquisitions. • Setting limits is optional. • In Command Search, ? for variant endings, Boolean Operators, quotation marks, parentheses, and field codes can be used.

  10. Electronic Reference Materials Available through Stiern Library • CQ Researcher • World Mark Encyclopedia of National Economies under Nation and World and Encyclopedia of Education under Education – Gale Virtual Reference Library • Rand California and STAT USA • Statistical Abstract of the United States

  11. CQ Researcher • CQ Researcher is available under Reference Sources from Stiern Library site. • Published by a division of Congressional Quarterly Inc. • Contains in-depth reports on current political and social issues written by journalists.

  12. World Mark Encyclopedia of National Economies/Encyclopedia of Education • Both are available from the Gale Virtual Reference Library under Reference Sources from Stiern Library site. • World Mark Encyclopedia appears under Nation and World. • Encyclopedia of Education appears under Education. • Click View Publications to see a list of references under each subject heading.

  13. Rand California, STAT USA, and U.S. Trade Online • Available through the list of Reference Sources from the Stiern Library Website. • These sources would be good for statistical information for California and the United States.

  14. Statistical Abstract of the United States • Statistical Abstract of the United States, available free online, also under Reference Sources from Stiern Library site. • From the U.S. Census Bureau. • Contains statistical information on United States Education, including public elementary and secondary schools, charter schools, employed students, and home schooling. • Comes out annually in print version of the same name.

  15. Periodicals • Periodicals include magazine, journal, and newspaper articles. • Journal articles are written for a profession by professionals in that field. • Peer-reviewed journals have been evaluated by professionals in the field.

  16. Periodical Databases (Slide 1) • Periodical databases are collections of articles or references to articles from journals, popular magazines, or newspapers. • Access is primarily through Periodical Databases from the Stiern Library at

  17. Periodical Databases (Slide 2) • CSUB has purchased subscriptions to electronic periodical databases for student use. • Indexed and Searchable. • The Full Text of the article is often available, if not in the database you are currently using, through other databases, in print form through the Distance Services Link, or through I.L.L. request.

  18. Electronic Databases Economics and Education

  19. Databases for Economic and Education Research • EconLit (EBSCO) • Eric (Cambridge Scientific) • Omnifile Full Text from Wilson • Academic Search Elite (EBSCO)

  20. EconLit from (EBSCO) • EconLit provides an index and links to full text for international literature in economics. • Electronic database for the American Economic Association • It provides access to materials going as far back as 1969. • It will show you what articles are available on your topic and links you to those articles.

  21. ABI/INFORM (Proquest) • A source of business information for more than 30 years. • ABI/INFORM includes information from thousands of journals for researching international industry topics and trends, as well as, much more.

  22. Eric from Cambridge Scientific Abstracts • ERIC stands for Educational Resources Information Center. • It is a database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to provide access to educational literature. • ERIC corresponds to two print journals: Resources in Education and Current Index to Journals in Education. • There is some full text available.

  23. Omnifile Full Text in WilsonWeb • Omnifile Full Text provides indexing and abstracting plus full text of journal articles. • Full text is available from 1995. • Selecting Omnifile Mega will search the Business, Social Sciences, Education, and Humanities Databases.

  24. Academic Search Elite in EBSCOHost • Multidisciplinary database that offers full text for nearly 2,050 scholarly journals. • Academic Search Elite includes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed titles covering virtually every area of academic study.

  25. Basic Search Strategies

  26. Searching • Once you know what you are looking for and where you think you might find it, then you can construct an effective search strategy.

  27. Effective Search Strategy • An effective search strategy is one that gets the results needed in order to successfully research a topic.

  28. Understand your topic • Be able to state your search topic clearly in a single, simple sentence. • This sentence becomes the foundation of your search. • For example: Impoverished children do not have access to the same quality of education as affluent children.

  29. Look for the individual concepts in your topic • The sentence: Impoverished children do not have access to the same quality of education as affluent children has three concepts which can be used as keywords. • Impoverished or poor or poverty • Child* • Quality of educat*

  30. Making Your Search Clear • Concepts -- People use alternate terms to denote the same meaning, e.g., teens and young adults. • Context allows people to understand concepts even if different terms are used to describe the concept. • Computers do not recognize context and will not automatically search for possible variations of terms.

  31. Controlled Vocabulary • Because computers do not recognize context, it may be better to search within a database’s controlled vocabulary. • Many databases have thesauri which enable you to look up the terms that have been applied to your topic so that you will have better search results.

  32. Keyword Searching • Keyword searching is when keywords representing concepts are searched in a database. • Keyword searching can be problematic because people use different terms for different concepts. • Unless all terms are included you may not retrieve all relevant results.

  33. Search Tools • Boolean Logic • Truncation • Using search tools such as Boolean Logic and Truncation greatly increases your chances of retrieving relevant results in a keyword search.

  34. Boolean Logic • And -- education AND economic policy – focuses the search to combine both concepts in the search results. • Or – education OR schooling – broadens the search by allowing either synonym to appear in the search results. • Not – discrimination NOT rac* – narrows the search by excluding a search term from the search results.

  35. Truncation • Truncation allows the computer to retrieve all words that have the same beginning. • For example, Truncat* would retrieve truncation, truncating, truncate, truncates, and truncated. • An * is used for truncation in the CSA and EBSCOhost databases. • In many databases, an * or a ? may also be used as a wildcard to find alternate spellings within a word: e.g. behav*r would find behavior or behaviour.

  36. Use synonyms and truncation to broaden your search results. • For example • inclusi* OR mainstreaming – both terms express the first concept. • education • economic policy for the second concept. • disab* for the third concept.

  37. Link Terms with Boolean Operators • Inclusi* OR mainstreaming would be linked with OR because either term is acceptable. • All of the search terms can be linked with AND. • The search string would look like this: (inclusi* OR mainstreaming) AND education AND economic policy AND disab*.

  38. Choose appropriate databases • CSUB Periodical Databases • CSUB Periodical Databases by Subject

  39. Search the Databases • Decide between a keyword search with Boolean operators or a controlled vocabulary search. • When doing a keyword search, enter terms linked with appropriate truncation and Boolean operators into the search boxes. • Evaluate the results of your search. • Check the title, abstract, and subject descriptors to evaluate search results and to refine your search. Searching in these fields can give better search results.

  40. Searching Periodical Databases • Databases are usually fairly similar in terms of searching. • Basic search techniques do not change much from database to database. • The help menu can give you additional information.

  41. EconLit (EBSCO) • To access, go to the library homepage • Click on Periodical Databases. • Click on the database title. • Enter your CSUB RunnerCard ID number and last name, then click Login.

  42. Other Useful Sources under Periodical Databases • Lexis Nexis Academic Search - legislation in education • PsycINFO in Academic Search Elite • JSTOR • Social Services Abstracts or Sociological Abstracts from Cambridge Scientific Abstracts

  43. Evaluating Sources

  44. Evaluating Research Sources • Check to be sure that your results are giving you the information you need. You may need to use different search terms to get better results. • If you find one or two good articles check the descriptive terms for those articles and apply them to a future search.

  45. Internet • Can be a valuable resource. • There are many search engines including Google ( • Advanced search allows for better results. • Useful Economics and Education sites can be found under Subject Guides then under Economics or Education at

  46. Internet Site Evaluation • Authority • Objectivity • Currency • Accuracy • Coverage

  47. Authority • Who is responsible for the site? • Contact information should be present, if not, proceed with caution. • Site responsibility information can often be found in the header or footer of the page. • Look at the domain name for information about the authority behind the site. • .edu, .gov, .mil, .org, .com = common domain names

  48. Authority • •

  49. Objectivity • Try to find out the purpose or point of view of the site. • Is it possible that the material is biased? • Try to discover what organization is hosting the site. • Links to other pages invite you to compare the information on the page. • Advertisements may suggest that the author is trying to sell something.

  50. Objectivity • •