Research at the college level requires time. It stems from inquiry and leads us on a journey of truth-seeking, which requires us to be open-minded and critical readers so that we may evaluate sources and filter them accordingly. It is only after taking these steps that we are then able to present the most compelling evidence.
Research is not a “data dump.” That is, it’s more than simply stringing together a bunch of facts. It is a process that needs to be conducted in a thorough manner, but don’t let that intimidate you.
Understanding how to read academic, or scholarly journal articles, is not always an easy task. We are here to help! If you find yourself struggling with reading comprehension, make an appointment with our writing tutor today!
Finding Credible Research
Before reading an article, you of course need to find it. So, how do we conduct research at the college level?
First things, first. It’s important to understand what a scholarly or peer-reviewed journal article is.
These are articles that are written and reviewed by professionals within a particular field. They are not articles you can find through a simple Google search. Instead, they are published in academic journals. If an article is peer-reviewed, that means it was written by a scholar, then sent off to other scholars who double- and triple-checked the content to make sure it’s reliable and worthy of publication.
These are the types of sources you want to find when researching at the college level. Wikipedia can be used as a starting place for you to read about something on your own, but it should never be incorporated as a source within your writing. In order for you to come across as a credible and trustworthy source, your references need to be composed of credible and trustworthy sources.
You might be asking yourself, “How do I find these types of sources?”
Our library is a great place to start!
James N. Gamble Library
Our library is just a short walk from main campus, located in the hospital on 1-North, past the main elevators and down the hall from the chapel. If you haven’t been, go explore!
There are plenty of source materials, and it’s a great place to study. There’s even a private room you may reserve if you need to take a test on campus or if you just want some quiet time to focus. Call the library at 513-585-2737 to make a reservation.
When you’re not exploring the library in-person, however, you can browse the full-text journals and articles the library allows us to access. Remember how we said you can’t find these types of sources via a simple Google search? It’s because they cost money, so take advantage of this free offering.
Follow the steps below to begin researching the library databases:
1. First, connect to the intranet. No, not the Internet! We know it’s confusing, but your Wi-Fi connection alone won’t allow you access these great resources. Follow these steps to also connect to the intranet, which gets you special access to things the general public cannot see.
2. Once you’re connected to the intranet, you can access the wealth of materials the library offers. Research databases are listed here. If you’re unable to access the databases, repeat step 1!
3. Academic Search Premier, which is listed first, is a great place to start. Make sure the box “Suggest Subject Terms” is unchecked. Type in your keywords (make sure you’re just putting one term in each box), then scroll down to “Full Text” under “Limit Your Results” on the left side of the page if you want to access content right away.
Note: The library can usually always help you acquire access to a source if a full text is not available online, so don’t feel like you have to check “Full Text.” If you’ve procrastinated, however, (who does that!?), you’ll want to click the box.
4. There are all kinds of other options for specifying your search. Feel free to play around with them to restrict dates of publication, find peer-reviewed sources only, etc.
5. Once you’re satisfied, scroll back to the top, and click “search.” You can see the materials by scrolling down and/or clicking “view results.”
6. You’ll notice each result provides an abstract, or summary, of the source. If you find one that sounds good, scroll down or click either the “full text” link or “download PDF” button, and you’re on your way!
7. There are some great tools along the right side of the page, at least within Academic Search Premier. “Cite,” for example will provide you with exactly what you need for your References. Simply scroll down to APA format, and copy/paste your citation.
8. If you run into any difficulties, don’t allow yourself to feel stuck! Our librarians are research professionals, and they’re here to help. Email your question, or call 513-585-2737 for assistance.