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SPCM 101

Tips for Finding Resources

Below is a listing of some common information needs with tips on where and how to locate them.

 

Need

Source

Search Tip

Comment

 
Background information on a topic.

Overview of a topic.

History of a topic.
Subject encyclopedia

In the Library Catalog, limit your search to the reference collection. Perform a search using the subject you are interested in and encyclopedia. For example in a search for the history of the pacemaker, type medicine and encyclopedia.

The electronic database Credo Reference provides access to numerous reference works. These are available online and in full text.

There are more encyclopedias than World Book and Encarta. Subject encyclopedias offer detailed content on a vast array of topics.  
In-depth look at a topic Book

The Library Catalog searches the physical collection of the Mundt Library including books and e-books.

To search the holdings of thousands of libraries use WorldCat. After finding a book, you may request it using the library's Interlibrary Loan service.

Google Books searches the full text of millions of books. Assorted chapters and some complete books will be available online.

Often you will not read an entire book while doing research. To find the portions of the book focused on your topic use the Table of Contents and Index.  
Information on a controversial topic.

Pros/Cons of an issue.
  There are several databases that provide good starting points for information on persuasive issues.

Opposing Viewpoints offers the pros and cons of an issue. Along with viewpoints this database also provides full text access to reference works, magazines, academic journals, newspapers, primary sources, statistics, multimedia, and web sources.

CQ Researcher offers a full report on contemporary issues. The reports include an introduction, background, outlook, pro/con, maps/graphs, chronology and bibliography.
When preparing a persuasive or argumentative paper or speech you will often use statistics and testimonial to highlight your points.  
Current research.

Empirical study.
Journal article There are journals written in all disciplines. These journals are contained within the periodical databases which the library subscribes to. In order to discover which databases contain sources on your topic, use the Research Databases by Subject link. Research articles from journals are one of the most highly utilized resource when conducting research for course assignments.  
Statistics Statistical Websites and Databases

USA.gov Data and Statistics provides a range of statistics. Specific departments also provide detailed statistics. Some examples include: the U.S. Census, Department of Education, and Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Statistics can be found in numerous resources. They are often provided just as numbers without discussion. Sometimes to takes a bit of time to understand what the data tables are saying.  
Images

Online

Image Databases

There are several online resources to find images. Some of these include Google Images and Flickr.

The library offers a couple of databases centered on images.

U.S. Government Photos and Images -- Some of these photos and images are U.S. Government Works or in the public domain and may be used and reproduced without permission or fee. However, some images may be protected by license or copyright. You should read the disclaimers on each site before using these images.

The Open Education Database offers a listing of databases offering hi-res images available for use.

When using images you should try to determine their copyright status.  
Interviews

   

One location to find printed articles is through the database Academic Search Premier. To find interviews in the database use the Advanced Search. In the Advanced Search go to Document Type and choose interview. Type your topic in the search box to find an interview on that topic.

 

 

 

 

Global Information

 Databases and Websites

There are a number of places you can go to find information on other countries.

BBC Country Profiles - country profiles compiled by the British Broadcasting Corporation

Business Source Premier  - search for articles on your country. Also, use Country Reports to find information on various aspects of your countries.

CIA World Factbook -- country profiles and maps from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

Consider the source of your information when looking at information on other countries. Bias can be critical in these instances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karl E. Mundt Library, Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota 57042
605-256-5203