This guide will walk you through the process of searching for, (1) identifying a research literature database, (2) using keywords to search for articles on a specific topic, (3) selecting a research article from a peer reviewed journal, (4) accessing the full text, and (5) citing the article using APA style. These methods and tools will be essential for research projects in HNFE 2014, and beyond!
A few tips to get you started:
1. Contact your librarian for assistance, anytime!
3. Use Summon to conduct a Google-like search of most of our library resources. While it's not a disciplinary database, like the ones that I recommend to you on this guide, it can help you gain a broad overview of a particular research topic or question.
4. When trying to access articles and other resources, look for the Get VText box:
Learn more about a topic to prepare to research it in depth. Look for information about some of the following:
Getting to know your topic - In addition to searching general information sources such as Google, try:
Summon: the VT Libraries search on the VT Libraries home page - type in a topic, click search, and find topic overviews that show up on the right side bar after you search a topic, or by choosing the 'Content Type' called 'Reference' from the left side bar options.
Peer Review and Scholarly Sources
You may hear people talk about "Peer reviewed articles," which may also be called "scholarly" or "refereed." The term peer review refers to an editorial process in which experts from a particular discipline scrutinize articles before they are published by a journal.
Find out more about Peer Review and how to determine whether or not an article you've found is a peer-reviewed article.
If your research topic were:
Treatments for Insomnia
1. You might draft a research question that focuses in on two or more aspects, such as: a specific population or group of people, and a specific treatment to address insomnia:
Is melatonin treatment effective for children with insomnia?
TIP: To get ideas for developing a research question, see suggestions on the 'Explore a Topic' page.
2. Next you might design a keyword search to type into a research literature database. Use major concepts from your research question. In this example, it might look something like:
"melatonin treatment" AND children AND insomnia
TIP: With database keyword searches, always connect different concepts together with AND.
TIP: Using quotation marks " " around a phrase, ensures that you'll get results with the words in the quotes together, instead of a result with both words separately, far apart, and unrelated.
3. Revise your keyword search as needed. If you try your search in a database and don't get many results, you may want to think of adding some synonyms to your search to get more results, such as the following:
"melatonin treatment" AND (child* OR youth OR infant) AND (insomnia OR sleep OR sleep disorders)
TIP: Using the * symbol at the end of a word root (like child* above) will get you results with anything starting with that root. In this case, child* will get results that have: child, children, childhood, etc.
Read more about developing search strategies here: http://info-skills.lib.vt.edu/developing_search/index.html
And, try out the Search Strategy Builder tool for an even easier way to create a keyword search formatted with concept-synonym groups in parentheses like the example above.
Virginia Tech's University Libraries gives you access to nearly 1,000 databases. How do you know where to start?
You can always check out the HNFE Subject Guide, a webpage that will point you to the best databases for HNFE reserach.
For this particular HNFE 2014 assignment, I recommend three disciplinary databases:
Need help searching PubMed? Try viewing one of the many helpful PubMed tutorials: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/disted/pubmed.html
Is your article...
Trying to figure out if the journal that published the article you have is peer reviewed? Here are some steps you can follow to determine that!
1. Check the journal's website, and see if it refers to using the peer review process.
2. Search the journal title in Ulrich's Periodical Directory, a database that will give you all sorts of information about a journal, including whether or not it uses the peer review process.
3. It's also a good idea to read the article closely, and see if it adheres to rigorous research principles!
Peer reviewed articles may also be called "scholarly" or "refereed." The term peer review refers to an editorial process in which experts from a particular discipline scrutinize articles before they are published by a journal. Watch the video below for a good overview of what these articles are, and why you should know about and use them.
Many thanks to our friends at NC State University Libraries: Anne Burke, Andreas Orphanides, Hyun-Duck Chung, Daria Dorafshar, Kyle Langdon, and Kim Duckett, for creating such a fantastic (3 min) video! (License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.)
APA, or the American Psychological Association, uses one of the most well-known citation styles. Detailed information about using this style is available in the print APA Style Guide (library call number and location information shown below), but you can also find information on the web about using the APA style:
For the assignment in this class, you need to be able to both understand how to read citations and create citations. You'll be creating citations according to the APA guidelines--see the information at the left for how to do this.
However, as you read through your articles and try to use bibliographies in order to find additional articles, you'll be coming across a lot of different citation styles. The example citation below, is in APA style. Citation styles, while they may look different, all contain the same basic information, and it's useful to become familiar with identifying key information from any type of citation:
Test yourself: Use the information in the citation above to search for the full text of the article. See the box below for more information about how to do this!
When you have a citation for an article that you're trying to find, there are a couple of different ways you can try to track down the article.
1. Use Summon. Summon can link you directly to articles. Simply type in the full title of the article (such as "Controlled-release melatonin, singly and combined with cognitive behvioural therapy, for persistent insomnia in children with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized placebo-controlled trial"). If we have access to the article, Summon will link you to it.
2. Check the journal subscription. If using Summon to find the article doesn't work, then you'll want to check and see if we subscribe to the journal that the article is from. In the example above, the journal title is Journal of Sleep Research. In order to see if we have access to that journal, I will use the journal search on the library website:
3. Contact your librarian!
Citation Managers are tools to save and organize your information source references, create bibliographies, and add in-text citations to papers. Some popular citation managers are:
Find out more via these library guides:
You can download EndNote by visiting the EndNote page on the VT Libraries website and following the instructions:
*VT Site License for EndNote and free EndNote download ends May 1, 2017. For more information on this and options, see the announcement on the VT University Libraries EndNote page.
Below are how-to videos on getting started with library research, searching for and identifying research articles, identifying whether an article is in a peer reviewed journal, and using the HNFE 2014 library course guide for more information and resources. Use the linked numbered list below to jump to any particular video, or visit the HNFE 2014 YouTube Playlist.
YouTube Playlist available at: http://tinyurl.com/HNFE2014-YouTubePlaylist