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First Year Seminars: FYS 193 Science Fiction

The Research Process

Starting Your Search: MUSCAT Plus

Additional Research Tools

1. Choose a database to start your search! Here are a few suggested databases to get started:

2. Use relevant keywords to start searching.  One strategy for beginning a search is to start broad and then add additional keywords and/or use limitation options in the database (limit by publication date, source type, etc.) to narrow your search.  Also, peruse the subject headings assigned to sources and use those terms to further refine your search.

3. Get the full-text of the article.  Many databases will have the full-text of the article (linked as a pdf) in the source record.  If the full-text is not provided, look for the "Gett It" button to find it in another library resource.  Lastly, if the full-text is not available in the database you're using or elsewhere in the library collection, request a copy via Interlibrary Loan

Evaluate Information Sources

Evaluating Sources

Think critically about information sources that you use. Here are a few things to consider when evaluating sources…

Who wrote it and why?

  • What qualifies the author(s) to write about the topic?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the purpose -- to inform / entertain / persuade / summarize / report new findings?
  • What is the context in which it was written?

How does it support your research question?

  • What do you know now that you didn’t know before reading it?
  • What does the source argue or demonstrate that none of your other sources do?
  • What questions remain or what new questions are raised when considering the information?

What makes it reliable?

  • What evidence did the author use to support his/her claims?
  • Have other people cited or referenced it?
  • How might someone dismiss it?
  • Who had to approve or review it before it could be published?