Monthly Archives: February 2016

Where, oh where do I start in doing research?

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Your professor has asked you to write a paper about the Islamic State. You realize that you should know more about it since it has been in the news so much but where do you start in finding good, reliable information? Once again, the library comes to the rescue!
The library has a number of resources for you to use in beginning your research. Let’s start with accessing databases for up to date information. Go to www.centralpenn.edu. Under College Services, find Library. Then find “online resources” on the right side of the page under Library Quick Links. There are a number of databases that you should check out for writing your paper about the Islamic State or for many other research topics.
The first database is CREDO. This site is a great place to start because it provides you with background information from general reference works such as dictionaries & encyclopedias.
Once you have a vague idea of what the Islamic State is, you are ready to build upon that by looking at other databases.
EBSCO is one of our periodicals database. I clicked on EBSCO and then EBSCO host web and the under the Continue button, I clicked on “select all”. When I did a search for Islamic State, I got over 8785 results. I had even clicked on the two boxes limiting the search to Full Text and Peer Reviewed (Scholarly Journals). When I limited the search to articles published in 2014 and 2015, I got 621 results. If you want to limit your topic even farther, the advanced search option gives you the chance to view related topics such as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria since a list of related topics is shown as you type in your query.
Another place to find periodical articles is the Gale Database. Check out the Academic One File database for periodicals. Another Gale database to check out is the Opposing Viewpoints database. There you will find all sorts of information on various sides of an issue. When I searched Islamic State, I found everything from published viewpoints to videos and images.
It dawns on you that the library may have some books that will be helpful. You can see what books are available at the library by going back to the Library Quick Links on the Library webpage and clicking on online catalog. There you can do a “keyword search” by typing in Islamic State. Your search is rewarded by learning that the library has a number of books. The titles that we have physically in the library have a book symbol with the description of the book. The online catalog tells if the book is available or if it is checked out. If it is checked out, it will say when it is due and it also gives you an option of requesting it by clicking on the red checkmark located above the title. You will notice that some of the books have the book symbol but it has an e in the lower right corner of the symbol. The e means that the book is an ebook and it is available to you 24/7. Click on the title and then “connect to” and there is the book!
The databases and the online catalog with its connection to ebooks is available 24/7. One valuable resource the library offers is its librarians. We are not 24/7 but the library is open from 8am to 11 pm Monday through Thursday. It is open on Fridays from 8 to 6. Saturdays we are open from 1 to 5. We are here to help you!