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Get research help over spring break!

Spring break is upon us!  Are you visiting a beautiful location? Are you working hard on a research paper?  Are you working hard on your research in a beautiful location?

In any case, the library has got you covered.  Librarians are standing by to help you to focus your topic, investigate excellent sources, and use citation styles like APA, MLA, and Chicago.  Get research help in person or remotely over spring break!  Check out our spring break hours here.

 


Getting started with research: Finding background information

So, you’ve just been assigned a research paper or project? If you’re like most people, you’re next step is to do some pre-research on your topic. After all, you want to get a sense of what it’s all about before you commit. You probably search Google and maybe read a Wikipedia article or two. The purpose of this is to gather background information and explore your topic before settling on a focused research question. But while Google and Wikipedia are handy tools, you might find yourself questioning the credibility of some of the information you find online or maybe your professor requires you to use scholarly sources. Where should you turn? To the library, of course!

CredoHome

Try a basic keyword search on your topic or browse books by subject.

The library has many print and digital resources to help you find background information. We often call these “reference sources.” One of my favorite reference sources is Credo Reference. Credo includes more than 800 unique reference titles and nearly 4 million full-text articles across a variety of subjects, making it a great place to start your research for almost any assignment.

You can access Credo Reference from the library homepage by selecting the “Databases A-Z” tab in the main search bar and selecting “Credo Reference (reference)” from the drop down menu. If you’re off campus, you will be prompted to login with your Wheelock username and password. Once you’re in Credo, you can do a basic search of your topic or browse books by subject. When you see something that looks interesting, click on the article title to read the article or email it to yourself for later. Don’t forget to grab a pre-formatted citation to get a head start on your works cited page!

CredoArticle

Don’t forget to email the article to yourself and grab the citation.

 

And remember that the library offers drop-in research help 7 days a week, from noon until close. We can help you get started with your research in Credo or any of the library’s databases.

 

 

 


Confused by citations?

At the library, we provide tools to help you make sense of citations. Check out our guide to citation and writing for reputable information on creating and understanding citations in APA, MLA, or Chicago style. Or check out our YouTube playlist on using citations to find more sources for your papers.

Have specific questions? Stop by the library front desk during our drop-in hours, or email us at reference@wheelock.edu. We’d be happy to help you find more sources from citations, or to figure out how to cite the sources you used in your paper.


Zotero

Are you working on a research project? Do you use the internet to find sources for your papers? Having trouble keeping track of webpages, notes, and citations?

Sometimes using the Internet to do research seems like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have so much information available to you through library databases, publications from the government and professional organizations, and through search engines like GoogleScholar. But how do you keep track of this information once you’ve found it and ensure that you can find it again?

If you use the Firefox browser, there is a program called Zotero that can help you gather and organize resources online while using Firefox browser. (Sorry, Internet Explorer users!) Zotero is an incredibly powerful tool that you can download for free. Once it’s installed you can access it from the bottom of the browser’s window:

By clicking on “Zotero,” the program opens, revealing its many features:

In the left pane, you can organize your research by topic into folders. The middle pane shows you a list of documents in a given folder. In the right pane, you can collect citation data, create virtual note cards to save any important comments, and create links between a given document and ones that may be similar to it. For example, you could link all the articles you find by the same author. Furthermore, you can write your own tags for the item, and store files for later use. When you’re done with your paper, you can export your citations and automatically create a bibliography. Whoa. That’s a lot!

Zotero has many powerful features, but may work best for someone who does most of their research on one computer. As of November 2007, you cannot access your Zotero files over the web (that’s something they are working on, though). Until then, all your information is stored on your desktop.

If you have any questions about Zotero, please feel free to contact the Library Reference Desk. Also, check out these links for more information about Zotero, Firefox, and open source software:

http://www.zotero.org — includes a full description of Zotero and tutorials.

http://www.mozilla.org — download Firefox and learn more about the Mozilla Foundation.

http://www.answers.com/open+source+software?cat=technology&gwp=13 — definition of Open Source Software and lots of links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source_software — comprehensive Wikipedia article on the Open Source Software movement.


Citation Search

You’ve been doing research for a paper and you come across a citation in one of the reference lists or one of your professors mentions an author and the title of journal to check. How can you find out whether or not Wheelock has access to that article? There are a few ways to do this but a new search tool called, originally enough, Citation Search, might be able to help you. While it is helpful to have as much information from the citation as possible, you can try with as little as an author and an article title or a journal’s title. The Citation Search can sometimes be used instead of the Full-Text Journal Finder but it won’t be able to check whether we might have the journal in the library’s print journal collection.